Deadly bus blast hits southern Philippines

Wed, 2022-01-12 00:40

MANILA: An explosion on a bus killed at least one child and injured six other people in the southern Philippines on Tuesday, a military official has confirmed, as authorities launched an investigation into what has been described as a “terroristic act.” 

Seven individuals were initially hurt in the blast on Tuesday morning on the national highway in Cotabato province, military spokesman Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar said. 

“So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. (The) post-blast investigation is ongoing to determine what type of explosive was planted at the rear end of the bus,” he told reporters. 

Among the victims is a five-year-old boy, who was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition and later succumbed to his injuries. Baldomar said an infant and a three-year-old are also among the wounded. 

Police Chief MSG Randy Hampac, a spokesman for the local police in Aleosan town, where the incident took place, described it as “plainly a terroristic act” in a radio interview. 

Authorities have yet to identify any suspects as of Tuesday afternoon. Local media outlets initially reported that the explosion was triggered by an improvised explosive device. 

The attack came just two days after the government imposed stricter security measures ahead of the 2022 election period in the Philippines. 

Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Dionisio Carlos said on Sunday that some 14,000 military and police personnel had been deployed across the country to implement a nationwide ban on carrying firearms, and to prevent election-related violence. In addition, at least 2,000 checkpoints have been established at strategic locations all over the country.

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