Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Davao bus blast kills 6

PNP eyes extortion gang linked to Abus

DIGOS CITY, Philippines —The improvised explosive device appeared to have the signature of an extortion gang suspected to have links with the dreaded Abu Sayyaf bandit group.

Placed on an overhead baggage compartment and remotely detonated by a mobile phone, the device packed with nails ripped through a passenger bus at the public terminal here at 2:45 p.m. Monday, killing at least six people and wounding 30 others, police said.

Most of the casualties suffered head wounds from the blast that nearly tore off the roof and shattered windows of the vehicle owned by Metro Shuttle Bus Co., said Senior Supt. Cesario Darantinao, Davao del Sur police chief.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing as the Muslim world observed the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, but Darantinao suspected that the extortion gang al-Khobar was behind the attack.

Al-Khobar has been blamed for dozens of attacks on bus companies plying southern and central Mindanao. It is said to be an ally of the Abu Sayyaf, which is being linked to the international terrorist ring Jemaah Islamiyah.

“They placed the bomb overhead and packed it with nails obviously to cause more casualties,” said Supt. Francisco Villaroman, regional police intelligence officer.

Villaroman said al-Khobar had demanded P500,000 plus a P50,000 monthly payment from the bus company in July. When the owner refused, the extortionists bombed a bus in Digos on July 23, killing one person and wounding 32 others, he said. The device used in that attack was similar to one detonated Monday, Villaroman said.

Only three of the six fatalities in Monday’s bombing have been identified—Marlon Doey, between 30-40 years old and a resident of Sta. Maria, Davao del Sur; Wella Timotea and Virginia Flores.

Among the wounded were a girl believed to be 2 years old and a pregnant woman. Many of those in critical condition were rushed to the government-run Davao Medical Center in Davao City.

The non-airconditioned bus was bound for Malita, Davao del Sur. It had just arrived from Davao City and was waiting for passengers when the explosion occurred.

Darantinao said investigators were still trying to determine the bomb’s component. “It was remotely detonated through a mobile phone,” he said.

A Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter saw pools of blood on the floor of the bus.

A witness said black smoke billowed from the vehicle after the blast as passengers tried to escape from the wreckage. “People also frantically ran away from the terminal,” said the witness who declined to give his name.

Stores immediately shut down, and authorities cordoned off the area.

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