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Two Dead as Bomb Blasts Rock Mindanao Anew

By Ronel Pelovello     Jul 7, 2009 in Crime
BARELY two days since the bloody Sunday bomb blast in Cotabato City, four separate bomb blasts rocked Southern Philippines anew, leaving at least two people dead and 50 others wounded.
Radio reports said that around 8:00 a.m. Tuesday an improvised explosive device detonated near the vicinity of Mt. Carmel Church in Jolo.
A police official said the blast killed two people and wounded around 30 others.
Police Superintendent Jose Bayani Gucela, spokesman of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operation (DIPO) Western Mindanano, clarified that there were only two casualties in the Jolo blast and not six as earlier reported.
Based on the evidence gathered on the blast site police investigators believe the bomb was placed in a motorcycle, which the still unidentified perpetrators left parked about 100 meters from the Catholic Church.
Police investigators also found two unexploded bombs near the church, each placed inside a carton box.
Even as the police were scrambling to piece together evidence in the effort to get a lead that could pinpoint the culprits in the Jolo blast a separate bomb exploded around 10:30 a.m. the same day near the pier of Iligan City.
Investigators said the explosive was placed inside a car, parked near an Army jeep. Three soldiers and 21 civilians were wounded in the bomb blast, which also damaged nearby structures.
In Lanao Del Norte, explosions toppled a tower of the National Transmission Corp. in the area of Kauswagan town around 11 p.m. Monday, temporarily cutting power to the area.
Police said several explosives were placed in the structure but only two went off.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Sunday’s bomb explosion near the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cotabato City has risen from five to six following the death of a one-year old boy who sustained serious injuries from the blast.
The boy, identified as Jeff Raven Sayre, suffered lung injuries from shrapnel fragments that punctured his chest. He died late Monday afternoon.
More than 30 people were injured in the Cotabato blast that occurred as a mass was being held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral.
Philippine military authorities suspect the Cotabato bombing attack was the handiwork of the Muslim rebel group Moro National Liberation Front, in particular its Special Operations Group.
In a radio interview Monday, MILF spokesperson Eid Kabalu denied the accusations of the military.
Likewise the military said intelligence reports indicate the possibility that the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which is believed to have ties with the Al-Qaeda group of Osama Bin Laden, had a hand in the bombing attacks in cooperation with rogue MILF elements.
Two Indonesian JI bomb experts Dulmatin and Umar Patek are believed hiding in Mindanao since 2003 after they were tagged for involvement in the Bali Bombings in Indonesia in 2002 that killed more than 200 people.
Authorities are also looking at the possible involvement of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group in the latest series of bombings in Mindanao.
So far no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing attacks.
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