Blasts rock Mindanao’s Koronadal, Tacurong cities
KORONADAL CITY—An explosion ripped a passenger bus cruising at a major street here past noon on Thursday, wounding the driver of a tricycle trailing it.
The blast tore the back portion of a unit of Yellow Bus Line (YBL) Inc. that came from Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat province, en route to this city, the provincial capital of South Cotabato.
Police Capt. Renjun Bagaman, spokesperson for the South Cotabato police, said it was fortunate that the bus was not packed with passengers. A police report said five passengers of the bus were unhurt.
Witnesses described the explosion at 12:15 p.m. as “powerful.”
The bus was traversing General Santos Drive here when the improvised bomb exploded. Investigations were still ongoing to determine the motive of the attack.
Bernardo Bolanio, manager of YBL based in Koronadal, condemned the bombing. He said the company had not received any threat prior to Thursday’s attack.
The blast inside the YBL bus in Koronadal City was followed by a loud explosion near the Tacurong City bus terminal at Barangay Calean around 1:30 p.m.
Police Lt. Col. Joan Maganto, Tacurong City police chief, said the explosion occurred along a road serving as an exit route for bus and passenger vehicles from Tacurong terminal to Koronadal City.
“Nobody was hurt, the suspected IED (improvised explosive device) was left beside the diversion road,” Maganto said, adding that this could be intended for buses but the bomb courier left it there due to heavy police and Army presence at the terminal.
Maganto said police were still determining whether the Tacurong blast was connected to the Koronadal bus bombing.
Brig. Gen. Eduardo Gubat, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, has ordered heightened alert among all Army units in Central Mindanao following the bombings in Koronadal and Tacurong.
Gubat believed that the bombings could be the handiwork of the followers of Abu Torayfe, leader of the Daulah Islamiyah terrorist group in Maguindanao.
Torayfe’s group was the subject of military air and ground assaults in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao, on Monday following a brief encounter between soldiers and gunmen in Barangay Ganta.
That operation left Abu Torayfe and 16 of his men injured, according to the military.
Gubat said two of Abu Torayfe’s followers—Sadam Salandang and Abdul Patir—were killed. Ground troops also recovered high-powered firearms and ammunition.
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