YEARENDER: 15 killed, 120 hurt in Mindanao bombings in 2014

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/01 January) – The year 2013 in Sumisip town in Basilan literally ended with a bang when a bomb exploded there on New Year’s Eve killing six persons and wounding six others.

On 31 December 2014, it was the turn of M’lang town in North Cotabato to experience a bloody yearend when a bomb went off at the public market. One person was killed and at least 25 others were injured in the blast.

In between those dates, MindaNews reported that nine other reportedly improvised bombs exploded mostly in Western and Southwestern Mindanao.

These resulted in 15 people killed, at least 120 injured, and so far, except for three suspects who were arrested in Zamboanga on Dec. 30, there have been no progress in the cases.

On Sept. 16 in General Santos City, an explosion at the plaza killed a student and injured seven others. Police have yet to arrest a suspect in the incident despite a P200,000 bounty put up by the city government.

A month later, Oct. 15, a bomb went off in Isabela City in Basilan. Another bomb exploded two days later in the same city. No one was injured or killed in both incidents.

On Nov. 6, a bus owned by Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI) was bombed as it was traveling along Barangay Dologon in Maramag town, about a kilometer away from Central Mindanao University (CMU). Four passengers were injured but there were no fatalities. The bus had come from Tacurong City bound for Cagayan de Oro City.

A week later, Bukidnon police announced they had filed a case against Dawting Gendang, allegedly a member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), as a suspect in the bombing. Gendang remains at large.

Three days after the bus blast in Maramag a bomb went off in Zamboanga City injuring one person. Yet another explosion rocked the city on Dec. 29, although no one was killed or injured. Police arrested three suspects who came from Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

On Nov. 16, a bombing in Kabacan town in North Cotabato killed one person and injured 16 others.

A week after, two persons were killed and 25 others were wounded when a bomb exploded at the plaza in M’lang. The town was celebrating its Kawayan Festival.

But the deadliest bombing happened on Dec. 9, outside CMU in Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon. Ten persons, five of them students, were killed and 42 others were wounded when a bomb exploded inside another RTMI bus bound for Cagayan de Oro from Banisilan town in North Cotabato.

Just two days after the incident, police said they have filed charges against a suspect named Macmod Manibpil, an escapee from the North Cotabato Provincial Jail in Kidapawan who is also a suspect in the 2006 bombing in Kabacan, North Cotabato.

Police said Manibpil belongs to the BIFF. But the BIFF leadership denied any involvement in either of the two bus bombings in Bukidnon and implied instead that the attacks could be the handiwork of the military.

Police were also looking at extortion as a possible motive of the bus bombings.

Authorities further reported having defused three improvised bombs, two in Isabela City and one in Lamitan City, also in Basilan. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)