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Three killed, 16 hurt in North Cotabato bus explosion

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CARMEN, North Cotabato – Three passengers of the Rural Transit Bus were killed while 16 others were injured when a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) went off while the bus was in transit along the Carmen-Kabacan highway here around 10:40 a.m. Wednesday, a report from the Army’s Eastern Mindanao Command, said.

The fatalities were identified as Gladzin Himpiso, 10; Rona Mae Causing, 18; and Dima Causing, 60 years old.  Injured were Guiariah Danggo, 21; Basilisa Anipot, 45; Marvin Nacicnal, 23; Sonny Balanay, 39; Leo Limciano, 44; Alvin Diaz, 19; Lovena Acyo, 46; Lea Fabiona, 52; Analyn Soico, 35; Hara Janine Cosco, 11; Allan Himpiso Sr., 33; Allan Himpiso Jr., 6; Judy Ann Somailon, 9; Smela Luneza, 18; Rosa Derlia Garbo, 41; and Alberto Isidro, 36.

Sr. Supt. Cornelio Salinas, North Cotabato Provincial Police Office director, said a baggage with an IED inside was placed at the compartment area of the Rural Transit Bus with body number 2922 and plate number KVS 740 by a still unidentified passenger, who might have boarded the bus from Tacurong City-Carmen highway.

The fatalities were seated in an area where the IED was planted, Salinas said.  Those injured were immediately taken to the Kabacan Medical Specialist Center in Kabacan, North Cotabato and North Cotabato Provincial Hospital at Amas Complex in Kidapawan City for treatment.
The blast was the second attack against Rural Transit Bus this year, police records show.

On Feb. 7 this year, an IED went off while a Rural Transit bus was in transit along the Kabacan-Carmen highway. One passenger was injured during the blast.

Salinas hinted extortion as the motive behind the blast.  “We saw here a pattern. The suspects would board the bus from Tacurong City-Carmen highway and the blast would happen from Kabacan-Carmen highway,” said Salinas.

The bus company, according to police, had been receiving extortion threats from several armed lawless groups, including the notorious Al Khobar, an extortion ring, which they alleged has links with a terror group operating in Southwest Mindanao.

Col. Leopoldo Galon, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson, however added that no group had yet claimed responsibility for the attack but investigations were ongoing to determine the identity and motives of the perpetrators.

by: PNA




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