A powerful bomb exploded on a passenger bus wounding at least seven people in the country’s south in an attack by suspected extortion gangs, according to Philippine police on Sunday.
Police Chief Superintendent Rolen Balquin said the homemade bomb exploded in the rear portion of the bus as it was travelling late Saturday in Isulan town, Sultan Kudarat province.
The blast damaged the bus and sparked a brief fire, but did not injure anyone aboard the vehicle.
The force of the blast however, shattered the windshield of another passenger bus nearby, wounding its driver and two passengers. Four bystanders along a roadside were wounded by shrapnel from the explosion.
Balquin said they had no immediate suspects, and it was unclear if the buses, which were on regular runs between the cities of Cotabato and Tacurong, were carrying the explosive devices before they went off.
The blasts occurred in a section of the southern island of Mindanao that had been troubled by a decades-old Muslim insurgency and high crime, in which transport firms are often targeted for extortion.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in October signed a preliminary peace deal with the government that committed both sides to create a Muslim self-rule area for the Islamic minority of the Catholic nation.
The rebels have been observing a ceasefire since then.3
Associated Press, Agence France-Presse