ZAMBOANGA CITY—A grenade tossed by an unidentified man blew up inside a government shuttle bus along Maria Clara Lobregat Highway here on Monday morning, resulting in slight injuries to seven passengers, police said.
“We see this as work-related,” said Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo, city police director, as he ruled out a terrorist attack.
Six of those wounded in the thighs and legs are employees of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA), a government agency based at the Sangali fishing port here. De Ocampo identified them as Luciano Gelaga, Hombre Hamsirani Jr., Orly Villareal, Emilio Anitan, Steven Sustento
and Jaafar Hasan.
The seventh was Eugene Christian Lozano, who works at 10 Point Fishing.
“The bus was moving slowly while picking up passengers, when a man, clad in a purple sweatshirt and coming from the opposite direction, stopped at the rear door of the bus and tossed a grenade,” De Ocampo said.
The driver, Jaime dela Rosa, said the explosion happened along the highway in Barangay (village) Guiwan around 7:15 a.m.
“Everyone was screaming. Everyone was trying to get out of the bus,” he said.
De Ocampo said the PFDA management had denied receiving threats prior to the attack. “But there are reports about misunderstanding among personnel. We are looking into it right now,” he said.
Police and military authorities also reported two bomb explosions along the national highway in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao on Sunday. Two soldiers and a woman resident suffered injuries.
The first bomb, fashioned from a 105-mm howitzer shell, went off at about 9:20 a.m. in Barangay Satan. Wounded and brought to Camp Siongco Hospital were Pfc. Reynaldo Sotto and an unidentified motorist said to be an off-duty Marine officer.
Fatimah Kunakon was sitting in front of her house when the bomb blew up. She suffered shrapnel injuries.
The explosion occurred as a convoy of soldiers led by
Col. Noli Orense, head of the Army’s 603rd Infantry Brigade, was passing through Shariff Aguak en route to Buluan town, where elected provincial and municipal officials were scheduled to take their oath of office simultaneously.
Orense told reporters that the bomb, triggered by a mobile phone, could have been meant for local officials or soldiers in Satan. He said the bomb might have prematurely went off due to a malfunctioning trigger device.
The second homemade explosive was planted some
500 meters away and went off at past noon when the military convoy was expected to return from Buluan. No one was hurt.
Soldiers blocked the highway during the hourlong clearing operations. With a report from Edwin Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao