COTABATO CITY – The police investigation into the bomb explosion that killed eight people and wounded more than three dozen others here on August 5 has taken an eerie twist with investigators finding out that at least one of the victims, aside from being wounded by shrapnel, had also been shot.
Senior Superintendent Rolen Balquin, Cotabato City police director, said Friday that this surfaced in the forensic examination conducted by Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO).
Balquin said the family of one of the wounded victims had asked the police to determine what caused their relative’s wound and investigators determined it was caused by a bullet.
Cynthia Frances Guiani-Sayadi, city administrator who was wounded in the bombing, said the new finding was unfortunate but it “bolstered the theory that all along, we were the target of the attack.”
Sayadi said her motorcycle-riding escorts, Yusoph Jaji and Samsudin Ahari, were killed while trying to shield the right side of her car from another attack following the explosion.
She said they could have died from gunfire and not from shrapnel.
The family of one of the fatalities claimed that a wound on the victim’s body might have been inflicted by a gun and not shrapnel. The body, however, was not autopsied because Muslims are required by their religion to bury the dead within 24 hours.
Citing the SOCO report, which was not immediately made available to the media, Sayadi said assassins could have pre-positioned themselves somewhere near a popular establishment here to ensure she or her her brother, Mayor Guiapal Guiani Jr., would be killed if he or she survived the blast.
The mayor said shortly after the bombing that his sister had told him she heard shots as soon as the explosion took place.
Guiani and his sister maintained that the bombing was politically motivated and that they were the main targets.
Von Al Haq, Moro Islamic Liberation Front spokesperson, has said that the blast here and the recent explosions that took place elsewhere were intended to sabotage peace talks between the MILF and the government.
Al Haq linked “a young jihadist group inspired by the al-Qaida,” which he identified as the Khilafah Islamiya Movement (KIM), to the bombings.