MAGUINDANAO (Juan Magtanggol / 30 Sept) - Suspected communist insurgents torched a provincial bus after divesting its passengers of valuables in the southern Philippines, military authorities said Saturday.
It said the attack occurred late Friday on a remote village in Makilala town in North Cotabato province. Three gunmen, who posed as passengers, announced they were members of the New People's Army and were taking over the bus.
The men ordered around 40 passengers to disembark from the bus, took their money and valuables and then poured gas and torched the vehicle before fleeing. No one was hurt from the incident, the military said.
It said a group of armed men, believed to be rebels, joined the trio in their escape.
The motive of the attack was unknown, but the military suspects it was connected to an extortion attempt on the bus firm. The NPA had previously torched other passenger buses in the province after their operators failed to pay illegal taxes to the rebel group.
The NPA is fighting the government the past three decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country.