Task group formed to probe twin bombings-A A +A
Saturday, August 18, 2012
A TASK group composed of various law enforcement units was formed to investigate the twin explosions that rocked Zamboanga City last Thursday.
Seven people were killed in the explosion that took place one after the other Thursday night aboard an inter-provincial passenger bus in the village of Guiwan, east of the city, and outside a mosque in Suterville, Campo Islam village.
The creation of "Task Group 9224-Suterville" was one of the outputs of the emergency meeting of the City Crisis Management Committee (CMC) that Mayor Celso Lobregat called Friday to assess the situation and to look into details of the incidents.
The CMC has designated Senior Superintendent James Mejia, the officer-in-charge of the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO), as the task group's head.
The members of the team are from the ZCPO, Criminal Investigation and Detection Management (CIDM) of the ZCPO, Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco), police crime laboratory, intelligence unit, Task Force Zamboanga and other concerned units.
Lobregat, who heads the CMC, said Mejia is set to issue the corresponding letter of instructions (LOIs) to all units concerned to help solve the incident.
Seven persons were wounded -- six of whom were discharged from the hospital the same night when an improvised explosive device (IED) ripped through the Rural Transit Management Inc. (RTMI) bus with body number 9224 while it was unloading passengers near the bus terminal in the village of Guiwan around 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
The bus came from Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur province.
Raynier Palanas, 22, of Martha Drive, Sta. Catalina village, who was seated on the next row where the IED was planted, obtained multiple puncture wounds in his left buttocks. He is undergoing medical attention.
The City Government shouldered the medical expenses of the victims in the hospitals where they were rushed after the incident.
A second explosion rocked Suterville, Campo Islam village near a mosque at 10:45 p.m. Thursday, barely an hour after.
Nobody was hurt in the second incident.
Authorities are looking into various angles as motives of the explosions and these include extortion, personal grudge, terrorism and the move to discredit the present administration, said Lobregat.
"We have been receiving a lot of information and we do not want to discount any possibility but we also do not want to pinpoint any of the motives unless investigation is over," Lobregat added.
Mejia said no group is being pinpointed as perpetrator of the incident until authorities will have concrete evidences.
Mejia said the explosion near the mosque was intended to create panic and sow fear.
Initial investigation showed that the bombing of the RTMI bus was perpetrated by two passengers who rode along the highway in Barangay Culianan, east of the city.
Minutes before the blast, the suspects alighted before reaching a shopping mall in Barangay Putik where a checkpoint is located.
The bomb was placed at last row of seats.
The explosive ordnance demolition (EOD) has reported similarities in the components of the bomb that was planted on the bus and the one outside the mosque.
The explosion was triggered by a cellular phone and the shrapnel included concrete nails.
Lobregat said the CMC has also strongly recommended the need for the management of the RTMI and all other provincial bus companies to institute stricter measures to protect their passengers and facilities by reviewing their policy on picking up passengers along the highway as well as the need to deploy security marshals.
Lobregat said the local government unit, the police, Task Force Zamboanga and all other offices and agencies in the government are doing everything possible to make sure that peace and order reigns in the city. (Bong Garcia)