Sultan Kudarat

Dawlah Islamiyah behind Sultan Kudarat bus blast – military probers

Rommel Rebollido

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Dawlah Islamiyah behind Sultan Kudarat bus blast – military probers
Investigators say extortion is likely the motive behind the bombing at a bus terminal in Isulan town, Sultan Kudarat

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – The military has blamed the radical group Dawlah Islamiyah for the April 17 bombing of a bus that hurt seven passengers in Sultan Kudarat province.

Military investigators have suggested that extortion was the motive behind the noontime explosion at a bus terminal in Isulan town, Sultan Kudarat, on Monday.

Most of the injured were minors or elderly individuals from General Santos City and Sarangani province.

Colonel Dennis Almorato, the spokesperson for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said pieces of evidence collected at the blast site indicate the use of an explosive consistent with those used by the Dawlah Islamiyah.

Military bomb experts were working with the police to investigate the incident, and have recovered bomb components, including a circuit board, a nine-volt battery, a blasting cap, and concrete nails used for shrapnel.

Almorato said the bomb was placed near the engine on the lower deck of the two-deck bus, while a second explosive, which did not go off, was found under a seat on the upper deck and was safely detonated.

He said that they are currently checking with the management of the Husky Bus Cooperative for possible CCTV footage from the newly-acquired bus.

On Tuesday, April 18, Isulan town police chief Lieutenant Colonel Richelu Alucilja announced that they have three “persons of interest” in connection with the explosion, but declined to name them while investigations are ongoing.

The Dawlah Islamiyah, also referred to as the Maute Group, was established in 2012 by former Mindanao secessionist rebels, along with foreign terrorists. 

In 2015, the group pledged allegiance to the dreaded Islamic State and made use of social media for its recruitment, and then battled against government forces for months in the predominantly Muslim Marawi City two years later. 

Authorities said the group has been into an extortion racket, and has been blamed for several bus bombings in some parts of Mindanao. –

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