COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Suspected extortionists planted two bombs in the ill-fated bus that was stopped by a powerful explosion in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, shortly before noon on Sunday, November 6.
Only one of the bombs went off, killing a man and hurting 11 other passengers.
Explosive experts found the second bomb as they combed the bus for clues, and quickly detonated it.
Colonel Rogelio Raymundo Jr., the police deputy director for operations in the Soccsksargen region, said bomb fragments and the explosive found in the bus indicated that a cellphone was used as a triggering device.
He said the fragments of the crude but powerful bomb that went off showed that bicycle spokes were used in building it.
The Soccsksargen police sent the fragments and the second bomb to a police laboratory in Davao City so experts there could further examine the improvised explosive devices.
Military and police officials said Sunday’s bomb attack in Tacurong was likely the handiwork of a group of extortionists.
The bus’ owner, Yellow Bus Lines Incorporated, has been receiving extortion messages from a still unidentified group, said Joint Task Force Central Mindanao commander Major General Roy Galido.
“That’s the motive we are also looking at. That’s our suspicion,” added Raymundo.
The bus, bearing number 2588, came from Kidapawan City and was on its way to a bus terminal in Tacurong City when the powerful explosion ripped through it at around 11:30 am.
In May, an explosive device went off near a Tacurong bus terminal in Barangay Calean shortly after a bus owned by Yellow Bus Lines was bombed in front of the KCC Mall in Koronadal City in South Cotabato.
The May attacks were earlier blamed by authorities on the terrorist group Dawlah Islamiyah.
The May and November bombings all took place in the same region, Soccsksargen. – Rappler.com