Bomb caused restaurant blast in Basilan—investigators
ISABELA City, Philippines—An improvised explosive device, and not a liquefied petroleum gas tank, exploded inside a restaurant here on Saturday afternoon, leaving two persons dead and at least 15 others wounded.
Senior Fire Officer 4 Melanio Mansenido of Isabela City Fire Station said a small fire preceded the explosion and that bomb fragments were recovered from the blast site.
“It started with a small blaze, then a loud explosion,” Mansenido said.
“(Bomb) fragments were recovered inside the restaurant, not from the kitchen. The blast emanated from one of the tables of the restaurant. The kitchen is quite far and not one of the LPG tanks exploded,” Mansenido added.
Celina Guan, owner of the Mons Kitchenette, confirmed that a blaze happened before the explosion.
In the initial fire, Guan suffered second-degree burns on her hands. She then hurriedly left the establishment. Then there was an explosion.
The blast resulted in a much bigger fire that engulfed the whole restaurant.
Guan, however, was sure that it was not an LPG tank explosion as earlier reported.
“It is far from the kitchen. The tanks are all intact,” she said.
Superintendent Allan Nazarro, city police chief, said one of those killed was Alnissar Alonto, a former soldier of the 52nd Engineering Battalion.
The other fatality remains unidentified.
But as of Sunday noon, Nazarro could still not give details of the bomb blast, saying police were still investigating what now appeared to be an attack.
Nazarro said only 15 were listed as injured and that they were taken to various hospitals in this city.
“There were other injured persons, including some military personnel, but they opted to undergo medication in their own unit,” he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, Western Mindanao Command spokesman, confirmed the finding of an improvised explosive device.
“No doubt about it. But what made matters worse was that the restaurant’s upper floor housed liquor. The establishment was also made of light materials,” he said.
Cabangbang, however, said that the military had not received reports of a small fire preceding the explosion.
He said a witness saw a man leaving the place moments before the blast.
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