Abu Sayyaf bombers target R and R soldiers (1 dead, 10 injured in massage-bar bombing ) PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 25 July 2015 11:00

By ALLEN ABASTILLAS, DAN TORIBIO and BHONG SIMBAJON

City Police Director Sr. Supt. Angelito A. Casimiro on Friday blamed the Abu Sayyaf for Thursday night’s bombing in a massage parlor in this city that killed one and injured 10 other people.

In an interview, Casimiro said police have gathered intelligence information linking the militant group to the bomb explosion that happened around 9:47 p.m. at Manly Massage along Ledesma Street, San Jose, killing Geraldine Miguel , the parlor’s cashier and a resident of Barangay Canelar.

Casimiro said the same intelligence information gathered before the incident indicated the Abu Sayyaf was plotting to stage bombing in Zamboanga City targetting Philippine Army soldiers on rest and recreation from the battlefields of  Sulu and Basilan.

It was gathered that among those injured was an army trooper.

Police Station 11 commander Supt. Jomari Albarico identified those wounded as Teresita Delos Santos, 53, of Lunzuran, Cheska Mendoza, 24, of Tumaga, Stephanie Marfel,32, of Canelar, Nestor Alaban, 36, of Putik, Alfredo Enojo, 55, of Mampang, Elizabeth Alarcon, 38, of Ayala, Rina Ananog of Canelar, Nilo Gonzales of Pagadian, Karen Alvarez, 29, of Canelar and Nora Amancion. Most of them were stay-in transients of the massage parlor. They were rushed to the Zamboanga City Medical Center for treatment.

Miguel was declared dead on arrival by Zamboanga Medical Center physicians

Investigators are trying to determine the identity of a teenager who was seen acting suspiciously inside massage parlor and KTV bar minutes before the powerful explosion.

Parlor employees who requested not to be identified told newsmen that a young man estimated to be not more than 20 years old, arrived shortly before 9 pm. and ordered a bottle of energy drink after sititng on a chair.

While drinking the energy drink, he borrowed a songbook of the videoke machine and went out of the bar. Seconds later,  a loud explosion rocked the parlor.

The improvised explosive device (IED) exploded under the table where the teenager sat, according to the employees.

They said the young man was wearing gray jacket with hood, but his face was not recognizable.

The employees added that the same person had been visiting the parlor-videoke bar days before the incident and he was not ordering anything.

City Health Officer Dr. Rodel Agbulos, who took charge of the emergency room of ZCMC together with hospital administrator Dr. Romeo Ong after the bombing said the lone faatality, Geraldine Miguel, was already “flat line and unconscious” when her body arrived in the hospital.

“We exerted all our efforts to revive the victim, but she has no pulse already when she was transported to the hospital, she was fatally hit by fragments in her body” Agbulos said.

He added that of the wounded female victims were in critical condition, while the others are already in stable condition.

Agbulos said that the city government will shoulder all the medical expenses of the victims including the needs for the burial of the lone fatality.

OIC Mayor Cesar Iturralde said the city government is at hand to ensure the welfare of the victims as well as take care of their relative expenses in recovery.

“We strongly condemn this act of terror, which created panic and destruction, killing and wounding innocent victims. Whoever did this will face the consequences of the law,” Itturalde said.

In a separate interview, Special Investigation Unit chief Supt. Felix Martinez said that aside from the teenager, three other persons were seen inside the massage parlor-bar and are considered suspects in the bombing but they were still gathering more evidence to pin them down.

Martinez added that another investigation is underway to determine whether Thursday night’s bombing is related to two other bombings that took place in two other massage parlors along Tomas Claudio Street on the last quarter of 2013 that wounded some employees and a police bomb squad dog handler.

Moreover Martinez said that bomb experts have gathered fragments from the blast site and brought them to their office to examine along with the PNP Crime Laboratory personnel to determine the kind of IED used by the bomber.

DZT further gathered that authorities were trying to determine whether the bomb blast has something to do with the recent arrest of suspected Abu Sayyaf bombers at Sitio Gapuh, Talabaan, this city, in Basilan and the confiscation of several IED components including the raid carried out in Talon-Talon two weeks ago.

Two operations were carried out at Sitio Gapuh resulted in the arrest of three suspected Abu Sayyaf bombers and another one was nabbed in Lantawan, Basilan after he eluded arrest in Talabaan.

The second operation conducted at Sitio Gapuh, Talabaan led to the arrest of an Abu Sayyaf member wanted for kidnapping and serious illegal detention.

The raid in Talon-Talon resulted in the arrest of two persons and the confiscation of various bomb components and a grenade.

Casimiro urged the people to be vigilant and alert and report to the police on any suspicious persons in their neighborhoods and vicinities.

The police chief appealed to the public to help the police in the fight against criminalities and terrorism. — Allen Abastillas, Dan Toribio Jr. and Bhong Simbajon of RMN News