GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 18 July) — An improvised bomb exploded inside a passenger bus in Sto. Nino town in South Cotabato Saturday morning but no casualties were reported because the bomb was immediately detected and passengers managed to disembark before explosion.
Chief Insp. Joel Fuerte, Sto. Nino police chief, said the bomb went off at around 10 a.m. inside a deluxe unit of Yellow Bus Line Inc. (YBL) that was parked at the town’s public terminal. The bus was bound for Koronadal.
He said a passenger initially noticed a device with an attached cellphone dropping from the seat when the bus made a stop at the terminal.
Fuerte said the concerned passenger immediately alerted the bus driver, conductor and other passengers regarding the suspicious device, which was planted at the fourth seat from the driver’s seat.
“The passengers and crew were able to disembark from the bus before it exploded,” he told reporters.
The police official said they were still identifying the components of the explosive but initially noted that it was crudely-made.
He said the YBL bus unit sustained minimal damages as a result of the explosion.
Fuerte said their operatives are currently tracking down three suspects who were believed to have planted the explosive.
He said the suspects boarded the bus in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat and disembarked before it reached the Sto. Nino town proper.
“The three suspects were identified by the conductor and some passengers as the ones who were seated at the spot where the explosive was planted,” he said.
YBL had been the subject of bomb attacks these past months that were believed perpetrated by an extortion group operating in the area.
The YBL bus unit was en route to Koronadal City when the explosion happened.
The city is currently hosting the culmination of South Cotabato province’s 49thfoundation anniversary celebration and 16th T’nalak Festival. (MindaNews)