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North Cotabato bus blast injures 7



ALEOSAN, North Cotabato — Authorities reported on Tuesday that at least seven persons — most of them minors — were injured when a bomb explosion ripped through a passenger bus here.

Initial reports identified those injured as Rodolfo Castillo, Masid Piang, Haron Solaiman Sr., Lester Bautista, Benjamin Solaiman, Yushra Solaiman, and Haron Solaiman Jr., who is just five months old.

According to a report from the police and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, only Benjamin was reportedly in critical condition.
Police said that the explosion occurred inside a Mindanao Star bus unit (body no. 15511) while it was passing through Purok Narra, Barangay Upper San Mateo, around 8:15 a.m.

Brig. Gen. Alexander Tagum, Central Mindanao regional police director, called the incident a “terrorist attack” and noted that a still undetermined type of improvised explosive device was detonated at the back portion of the passenger bus.

Tagum added that an unidentified person carrying a bag boarded the bus in Kabacan town and disembarked in Pikit and left the bag.

“The regional police strongly condemns the cowardly terrorist attack against the innocent commuters. We hope for the fast recovery of the injured and be assured that those behind the bombing will face the full force of the law,” said Tagum.

Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar, 6th ID spokesman, said the bus was traveling from Davao to Cotabato City when the blast occurred.

Policemen, soldiers, and rescuers from the local government rushed to the scene to bring the injured to hospitals, help the other passengers to disembark, and scour the bus for other possible explosive materials, he said.