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Basilan eatery bomb, not LPG, blast kills 2, hurts 15

/ 09:01 PM June 26, 2011

ISABELA CITY, Basilan—An improvised explosive device, and not a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank, exploded inside a restaurant here on Saturday afternoon, leaving two persons dead and at least 15 others wounded.

“It started with a small blaze, then a loud explosion,” said SFO4 Melanio Mansenido of Isabela City Fire Station

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“(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,” he added.

Celina Guan, owner of the Mons Kitchenette, said indeed there was a small fire before the explosion.

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In the initial fire, Guan’s hands had second degree burns. She then hurriedly left the establishment. Then there was an explosion.

The blast resulted into 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.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, said what exploded was 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 said the military has not received reports of a small fire happening before the explosion.

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He said a witness saw a man leaving the place moments before the blast.

City police chief Supt. Allan Nazarro said one of those killed was Alnissar Alonto, a former soldier of the 52nd Engineering Battalion.

The other fatality remained unidentified.

But as of Sunday noon, Nazarro could still not give details of the incident, saying police were still investigating the incident.

Nazarro said only 15 were listed as injured and these were the ones brought to various hospitals in this city.

“There were other injured persons, including some military personnel, but they opted to undergo medication in their own units,” he said.

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