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Abus eyed in bombing

THE police are questioning at least one person linked to the blast that killed two people near a bus terminal in Zamboanga City on Friday after President Benigno Aquino III ordered lawmen to thoroughly investigate the explosion.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview the President has been briefed on the situation and the military will also be part of the police investigation.

“We can tell you is that current evidence available to us has indicated a particular direction. There are suspects, [but] we are not free at this time to discuss the details,” she said.

Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar
But Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said on Saturday the incident was related to last Monday’s foiled plan to spring Abu Sayyaf members from a local detention facility.

The bomb exploded around 3:15 p.m. Friday in front of a pub located across the bus terminal in Barangay Guiwan. It was placed aboard a car that was parked in front of the pub house.

Salazar said the ASG plan was to set off the bomb to divert the attention of the security forces while the ASG detainees will stage jail break while another group would storm the detention facility to rescue their comrades.

“Their target was really to destabilize the government by creating a diversionary tactic,” Salazar added.

She said the main target was to rescue from the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center the two brothers of Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama, namely, Benzar and Musang.

Chief Insp. Julius Arro, ZCRC warden, disclosed there are 56 suspected members of the ASG, including the two Indama brothers, who are detained at the detention facility.

Salazar said that the ASG pushed through with their intention to set off the bomb although the plan to rescue their comrades last Monday was foiled.

“They were unsuccessful with the plan to rescue but they pushed through their intention,” she said.

The rescue plan was foiled when the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology personnel detailed at the ZCRC managed to confiscate Monday three caliber .45 pistols and 140 rounds of ammunition delivered to an ASG detainee.

The guns and bullets were concealed at the bottom of the two home-made concrete charcoal stoves delivered to an ASG detainee by three people, including two women, at the ZCRC.

Zamboanga City police spokesman SPO2 Alex Mabalot said at least 10 of the 52 wounded are still in hospital.

Mabalot also said the police’s bomb squad has established that the blast was indeed caused by a car bomb, but he declined to comment on what they suspect to be the motive behind the blast, saying investigators are “still digging deeper into the case.”

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman on Friday evening said the blast in Zamboanga City was a “heinous act” intended to kill innocent civilians.

In a press statement, Hataman condemned the attack, saying it was a cowardly and heinous act.

“We in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao extend our sympathies to the victims and pray for their speedy recovery,” he said.

“We condemn this crime, meant to kill innocent civilians, and demand that the perpetrators of this incident be brought to justice,” he added.

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