8 Killed In New Bombing In Southern Philippines
Monday, September 01, 2008 04:11:12 PM
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 1, 2008) – A homemade bomb explosion Monday ripped through a commuter bus, killing at least 8 people in the southern Philippines, where security forces are battling Moro rebels, officials said.
Officials said the bombing targeted the bus owned by Metro Shuttle in Digos City in Davao del Sur province. At least seven people were seriously wounded in the attack.
The bombing occurred at a bus depot shortly before 3 p.m., according to Army Col. Roland Bautista, of the 10th Infantry Division. “We still don’t know the motive of the bombing,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.
Metro Shuttle bus owner Mayor Rey Uy, of Tagum City, has blamed extortionists as behind the bombing and urged authorities to put an end to the attacks. It was the second Metro Shuttle bus bombed in three months, he said.
He said four people were instantly killed in the blast, but other reports claimed four more others had perished in the bombing and the number of casualties may still increase because more people had been rushed to hospitals. Radio network dzRH also reported that 8 people were killed in the blast.
Army Maj. Armand Rico, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command, said the blast was so powerful that it decapitated the head of a still unidentified civilian. “It was powerful that the blast decapitated the head of a civilian,” he said.
Witnesses said they saw human body parts scattered inside the bus. The blast tore the roof and sides of the bus.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but a bombing in July of another Metro Shuttle bus in Digos City had been largely blamed to the Al-Khobar gang.
One passenger was killed and 35 others were wounded in the July bombing, which authorities claimed had been carried out by a woman, who left a bag containing the explosive inside the bus.
Three days before the bombing, Uy said unidentified men demanded P500,000 from his firm and P50,000 every month as protection money. Uy said the men threatened to bomb his buses if he will not pay up.
The Al-Khobar gang is composed mostly of Filipino terrorists and some of them were former Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels trained by the Indonesian militant Jemaah Islamiya.
The latest bombing coincided with government offensive against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels who launched a series of attacks last month in the provinces that killed dozens of civilians. It was not immediately known whether the rebels had anything to do with the bombing, officials said. (With a report from Romy Bwaga)
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