Police looking at varied angles on explosion

COTABATO CITY, Southern Philippines — Police investigators  believed that Thursday’s explosion along the national highway in Carmen town, Cotabato,  about a kilometer  from the bus terminal, was that of an improvised explosive device that prematurely went off.

Reports reaching Police Director Felicisimu Khu, mentioned of a possibility that the bomb’s self-timer could have been set short prompting the courier to throw the bomb outside the bus.

Another angle being looked at was that the bomb was to be planted in a highly populated area but the bomber could not initiate such a dreadful act because of the heightened security being implemented, said Cotabato Police Provincial Director Senior Superintendent  Cornelio Salinas.

“Initial details  we got, the bomber had decided to leave his bomb-packed bag along the national highway and took another bus going towards Bukidnon,” Salinas said.

Cotabato governor Emmylou Mendoza said this threats of terrorism is part of a massive campaign by a lawless group in their extortion activities. She did not elaborate.

The governor however said, residents should not be beleaguered with this act of sabotage.

Earlier, phone text messages have circulated in the province about the imminent threats by lawless groups out to launch attacks in bus terminals and public places during the Christmas rush.

The group identified  behind this series of explosion in Cotabato  was earlier identified as the  Al Khobar extorion group which has been targeting buses of the Rural Transit Mindanao, Inc. (RTMI).

In October, this year, a powerful blast killed 11 and wounded dozens of passengers of a Rural Transit bus, then cruising the national highway in Matalam town, Cotabato.

Last November 16, another blast in a RTMI bus killed a  student and wounded two passengers. (Written by Ferdie Cabrera for PECOJON PH)