CARMEN, North Cotabato (MindaNews/11 April) — Two passengers of the Rural Transit Bus, including a ten-year old girl, were killed while 18 others were injured when a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) went off while the bus was moving along the Carmen-Kabacan highway at around 10:40 a.m., Sr. Supt. Cornelio Salinas, North Cotabato police chief, said.
Salinas said a still unidentified passenger left the baggage with an IED inside at the compartment area of the Rural Transit Bus with body number 2922 and plate number KVS 740. The passenger, he said, may have boarded the bus between Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat provicnd and Carmen in North Cotabato.
The slain passengers were seated in an area where the IED was planted, he said.
Salinas identified the slain passengeras Gladzin Himpiso, 10, and Rona Mae Causing, 18, both residents of Cabanglasan, Bukidnon.
Injured were Guirea Danggo, 21; Marvin Nacicnal,23; Basilisa Anipot, 45; Sonny Balanay, 39; Leo Limsiano, 44; Alvin Diaz, 19;Lovina Ayco, 46; Lea Faviona, 52; Analyn Suyco, 35; Demia Causing, 62; HaraJanine Cosco, 11; Allan Himpiso, Sr., 33; Allan Himpiso, Jr., 6; Judy AnnSumaylon, 9; Smela Luneza, 18; Rosa dela Garbo, 41; Alberto Isidro, 36; and Jenny Bergonia, 34.
The injured passengers were rushed to the Kabacan Medical Specialist Center in Kabacan town and the North Cotabato Provincial Hospital at Amas Complex in Kidapawan City.
The Wednesday blast was the second attack against a Rural Transit Bus this year, police records showed.
On February 7 this year, an IED went off while the bus was in transit along Kabacan-Carmen highway, injuring one passenger.
Salinas hinted extortion as the motive behind the blast.
“We saw here a pattern. The suspects would board the bus fromTacurong City-Carmen highway and the blast would happen from Kabacan-Carmen highway,” said Salinas.
The bus company, according to police, had been receiving extortion threats from several armed lawless groups, including the notorious Al Khobar, an extortion ring which they alleged has links with a terror group operating in Southwestern Mindanao. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)