ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/06 August) – Mayor Celso L. Lobregat has urged warring politicians in the nearby island provinces not to bring their conflict here, as two persons were killed in a bombing incident at the airport early Thursday night reportedly aimed at Sulu Governor Sakur Tan.
At least two civilians were killed, including the bomber, 24 others were injured, including Governor Tan.
“We are asking the warring politicians and warring families not to bring their problem in this city,” Lobregat said.
Lobregat’s reaction came after authorities claimed there is a “strong indication” that the bombing at the Zamboanga International Airport could be a result of a feud between political families in the island-province of Sulu.
Tan told reporters here that he is “quite sure” that the bomb attack was really intended for him.
“I could sense that the bomb was aimed at me because the person who was believed to be carrying the bomb exploded very near to me. He was just standing less than a meter to me,” said Tan, who suffered minor bruises in his left chest.
He said his suspicion is that the bomb attack was meant to discourage him from pursuing corruption and criminal cases that he filed against erring politicians in his province.
“It is still premature to me to name any suspects,” he said.
Tan survived a bomb attack in Sulu last year at the height of the kidnapping incident involving members of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The military said the bomb attack could also be politically motivated since it was nearing election period.
The bomb was placed inside a motorbike and was detonated when the convoy of Tan was passing along the streets outside the provincial capitol building.
Authorities said based on the video — through the monitoring camera installed at the airport — the bomb was placed in a knapsack bag carried by certain Reynaldo Atilano. It suddenly blew up in the arrival area of the airport, located at the left-wing of the building, when the group of Tan passed by.
It said the explosion was so strong that it entirely ripped the body of Atilano.
“It was an improvised explosive device,” Col. Santiago Baluyot, the commander of the anti-terror Task Force Zamboanga, said referring to the type of bomb used. (MindaNews)