ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/17 August) – Authorities are looking into three possible motives behind the two bombings Thursday night in this city, a top police official said.
Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles, head of the Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9), the three possible motives are extortion, terrorism and to create a bad scenario.
Seven people, including a two-year-old boy, were injured when two improvised bombs exploded one after the other.
The first explosion took place around 9:20 p.m. aboard a passenger bus of the Rural Transit Management Inc. (RTMI). The second came shortly before 11 p.m. near a mosque.
Estilles disclosed that the RTMI has recently received a demand letter to pay protection money but the management did not give in to the demand.
He refused to name any particular group or individuals behind the extortion demands, citing they have yet to ascertain the identities.
Estilles said the bombings could also be the handiwork of the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf bandits to terrorize the riding public.
He said it could be intended to create a bad scenario, citing that the second incident took place outside a mosque, which has a religious implication.
Estilles said the two bombing incidents may be connected with one another “but it’s not conclusive yet” since they have yet to complete the investigation.
Senior Insp. Cesar Memoracion, explosive ordnance demolition (EOD) chief of the local police, disclosed that “the shrapnel of the two bombs are the same.”
However, Memoracion said they have yet to gather all the bombs’ fragments to determine if it is similar and fabricated by only one person or group.
The RTMI bus with body number 9224 had just arrived from Pagadian City and is about 200 meters away from the bus terminal in Barangay Guiwan when the bomb exploded at the rear portion of the bus.
No one was killed nor injured in the explosion outside the Al-Imam-Al Mahdi mosque at Suterville, Barangay Campo Islam (not San Jose Gusu as earlier reported).
The bomb was placed at an electric post outside the mosque’s compound. (MindaNews)