1 killed, 5 hurt in North Cotabato blast

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COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 27 January) – A 53-year old woman was killed while five other persons were wounded when a bomb exploded near a bus stop area in Barangay Sibsib, along the national highway in Tulunan, North Cotabato 12:30pm Wednesday.

Police identified the fatality as Gina Paunon, a resident of Barangay Cajelo, Tulunan.

The wounded victims, one of whom was an 11-year-old, were sent to different hospitals.

Yellow Bus Line Company driver Melvin Lumayag said he was dropping a passenger near the ticket booth when he heard a loud explosion on the side of the bus.

“It was too loud. It was just around five seconds after I stopped to drop a passenger when a loud explosion happened ,” Lumayag said.

Former North Cotabato provincial board member Socrates Piñol said he happened to be near the scene and witnessed the explosion.

He said he could have been hit had he stayed behind the bus.

He said he saw thick smoke after the explosion.

He believed the bomb could have been left at the waiting shed area.

Police are still conducting post-blast investigation in the area to identify the type of bomb used.

Residents were warned to be vigilant just in case a secondary bomb was left behind by the perpetrators.

Some businesses nearby opted to close for fear of more explosions.

On Tuesday, a roadside bomb exploded in South Upi, Maguindanao, killing a motorist and wounding his passenger.

Shortly after, another bomb, which was bigger, was found hidden near the market area a few meters from the explosion site.

The bombing was the handiwork of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, according to Joint Task-Force Central spokesperson Lt. Col. Anhouvic Atilano.

North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco condemned the recent bombing. She called on everyone to cooperate to bring justice to the victims.

“Isa itong kapalastanganan di lamang sa batas, ngunit lalo na sa karapatang pantao ng bawat mamamayan. Hindi na ito dapat maulit pa (This is a transgression not only against the law, but more so against the human rights of every citizen. This should not happen again),” she said. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)

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