Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Southern Philippines hit by twin bombings; JI, Abu Sayyaf blamed for attacks

Police surround an area in Jolo town in Sulu province in the southern Philippines where a motorcycle bomb exploded Tuesday, July 7, 2009 and killed two people and wounded 24 others. A car bomb also exploded in Iligan City in Mindanao, killing one person and wounding 10 more. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Nickee Butlangan and Merlyn Manos)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 7, 2009) – Three people were killed and at least 34 others injured in separate bombings Tuesday in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said two people were killed and 24 more wounded in a motorcycle bomb explosion near the Mount Carmen Cathedral in Jolo town in Sulu province. The blast, which occurred around 7.45 a.m., damaged several hardware stores.

“We are still investigating the motive of the attack and the type of explosive used in this attack. But there were scattered remains of a motorcycle in the area and confirming our suspicion that a motorcycle bomb was used in the attack,” Chief Inspector Usman Pingay, the town’s police chief, told the Mindanao Examiner by phone from Jolo.

He said the bomb exploded in front of the Go Teck Leng hardware and the blast killed Vicky Sia, 62, and Hamsirani Hamsi, 60. He said among the wounded were three policemen.

Jolo town Mayor Hussin Amin said a second improvised explosive, assembled from an 81mm mortar bomb, and planted at police booth outside the church was also disarmed by soldiers.

The wounded were rushed to hospital in Jolo. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the blast, but Abu Sayyaf militants with links to the Indonesian terror Jemaah Islamiya are largely blamed by the police and military for the attack.

“We suspect that those behind the bombing could be the same group that detonated a motorcycle bomb at the convoy of Governor Sakur Tan,” Amin said.

The mayor was referring to the failed assassination of Tan in May. Tan’s convoy was bombed outside his office while returning home from work, injuring 10 people.

One person was also killed and at least 10 people wounded - three of them soldiers - after a car bomb exploded in Iligan City three hours later.

The car bomb exploded near an army jeep which was parked adjacent to a pawnshop in downtown Iligan and among the wounded were three soldiers. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but previous bombings in Mindanao had been largely blamed by authorities also to Moro rebels and Jemaah Islamiya.

“The explosion occurred at around 10.30 a.m. We still don’t know who was behind the latest bombing. It’s too early to speculate, but the attacks are escalating,” said First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a regional military spokeswoman.

Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor said the target of the bombing was the military convoy. “The bombing in Iligan targeted the convoy,” he said in a television interview.

Blancaflor, who also head a government anti-terror task force, said they still do not know if the attacks were coordinated or not. “But the effect of this is to sow terror,” he said.

It was the second bomb attack this week outside a Catholic church in the southern Philippines. On Sunday, an improvised bomb exploded outside a church in Cotabato City in Mindanao and killed 5 people and wounded 55 more. (With reports from Nickee Butlangan in Sulu and Merlyn Manos in Iligan City)


Ronilo said...

The headline is another blunt inking on Zamboanga City's media image. Why not base reports happening in any ARMM hot spots from Cotabato City or Shariff Aguak? And meanwhile why does a bombing in Iligan City (which is in Northern Mindanao) get a headline caption mentioning Zamboanga City, and not Cagayan de Oro City?

The Mindanao Examiner said...

Dear Reader,

The source of the news for the first story about the bombing in Jolo is Zamboanga City and this explains the dateline.

Our second story was datelined Iligan City because it was there where the report was written and filed.

The third report was an update of the two stories and datelined Zamboanga City because much of the information came from the Western Mindanao Command which is based in Zamboanga City.

We strictly follow the rules on writing news from locations, hence our datelines.

But we make sure that the story, especially the first paragraph tells our readers the geography of the news.

Thank you for visiting our site.

Mindanao Examiner