KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao / June 27, 2009) – At least 9 people were injured Saturday in a fresh attack blamed by the Philippine military to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in the restive region of Mindanao.
Colonel Jonathan Ponce, a spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said rebels detonated an improvised explosive planted at a commuter bus depot in Tacurong City.
“Nine people were injured in the blast and two of them are in critical condition,” he said.
Ponce quickly blamed the MILF and tagged a rebel leader Abdul Basit Usman as behind the attack, even as police is still investigating the blast. “The special operations group of the MILF under Basit Usman is behind this bombing,” he said.
The MILF strongly denied the accusations and urged police authorities to investigate the latest bombing.
“We have nothing to do with the bombing of the bus terminal. Police should investigate whether this (attack) was connected to extortion or business rivalry,” said Eid Kabalu, a senior MILF leader.
No group or individual claimed responsibility for the explosion, but previous attacks on bus terminals had been largely blamed by the police to extortion syndicate called the Al-Khobar gang.
In April, a powerful bomb explosion also ripped through a commuter bus in Koronadal City and wounding at least 6 people. Scores of people were also killed and wounded in bus depot bombings in Mindanao in recent years. (With a report from Geo Solmerano)