Abu Sayyaf blamed on bus bomb blast (Beng puts up P200,000 reward for bomber’s arrest ) PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 20 September 2015 14:39

by Vic Larato

Police have blamed the al-qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf on Friday’s bomb attack on a bus that killed one and injured more than 30 others at a crowded market in Zamboanga City.

Citing intelligence report, City Police Director Sr. Supt. Angelito Casimiro told a meeting in City Hall late Friday night that the bomb attack on the bus belonging the Biel company was something they had expected to  happen, following the September 16 explosion near a gas station in Lamitan City in the nearby island province of  Basilan, a stronghold of the militant group, notorious for extortion, kidnapping and other criminal activities carried out to raise funds for their guns and ammunition.

“I hate to say this, but we were expecting this,” Casimiro said of Friday’s explosion around 2:15 p.m. aboard the Biel bus that was parked at the bus terminal in Murga Compound located between Tomas Claudio St. Extension and Gov. Lim Ave and behind Calixto St., Zamboanga City’s old public market district.

He said Police Regional Director Chief Supt. Miguel Antonio Jr. has ordered the creation of a special investigation task group called “Biel” to lead and supervise the “thorough inquiry, scrutiny and analysis of the latest bomb explosion in the city.”

He further said civilian sources had provided vital information that linked the Biel bus explosion Friday to the Lamitan blast near a gas station last Sept. 16 and the motive was purely to extort money from the Biel Transport Company, which also operates buses and vans plying the Lamitan-Isabela City route in Basilan.

Casimiro said both incidents were the handiworks of the Abu Sayyaf based in Basilan as it has been notorious for extortion activities, while its counterpart in Sulu is into kidnapping.

Police investigators have zeroed in their investigation on the information that the extortion group had earlier demanded from Biel company in Lamitan the initial payment of P500,000 and P20,000 monthly purportedly for protection.

Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco on Saturday announced the city government is putting up a P200,000 reward for anybody who can provide the authorities with information that will lead to the arrest of the bombers.   Mayor Climaco issued the statement via text message from China’s northern port city of Nanning, where she is currently heading the city’s 82-man delegation to the 12th China-ASEAN Exposition.

In her text message to City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer Elmeir Apolinario, Climaco denounced the latest bomb attack, saying it was an act of injustice against the city of Zamboanga, especially to the victims.

The police reported that an 11-year-old girl was killed and 33 other people mostly children were injured in the powerful explosion that ripped through the bus.

Climaco said the local police under Casimiro were taking the lead to give justice to the victims.

The mayor called on all bus companies and other public conveyance in the city to enforce strict inspection procedures, safety and security measures.

Friday’s bomb attack comes two months after another explosion  left one person dead and 10 others at a massage parlor last July.

Casimiro had also blamed theAbu Sayyaf on the Manlyu massage parlor and karaoke bar bomb blast.

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf — armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles — has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.

It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to have been paid for their release.