Police foil 2 bombings in Cotabato City depot
The Manila Times
ZAMBOANGA CITY: Police disarmed early Thursday two improvised explosives planted at a bus depot in Cotabato City in southern Philippines where previous bombings had been largely blamed to pro-Islamic State terrorists are actively operating. A security guard of the bus company Husky Tours in downtown Cotabato phoned the police around 3:40 a.m. to say two homemade bombs were discovered at the front gate and at the perimeter wall of the depot. Police quickly dispatched members of the bomb squad and disarmed the explosives. “The Police Station 2 of Cotabato City Police Office disclosed that at about 3:40 a.m., they received a phone call from the duty guard of Husky bus company and reporting that suspected improvised explosive devices found at the perimeters of the bus terminal, one placed at the gate and another at the concrete fence of the terminal,” BGen. Allan Nobleza, regional police chief, said. “The Cotabato City Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Canine Unit (CECU) and Regional Explosive Ordnance and Canine Unit immediately carried out a safe procedure on the suspected IEDs and disrupted them using a water cannon disruptor,” he added. Nobleza said police were investigating the foiled bombings and who was behind them. “The identification of the two IEDs is still to be determined by the CECU and will be subjected to chemical analysis while motives of these actions are still being investigated,” he also said. Nobleza lauded various police units involved in the operations for their swift response and for handling the situation safely, and urged the public to immediately report any suspicious baggage or persons to the nearest police stations. “Rest assured that we will continue to strengthen security measures to foil any other criminal or terrorist attacks and ensure a safe and secure Bangsamoro region,” he said. Just last month, a powerful bomb explosion ripped through a bus owned by Husky Tours in North Cotabato’s Isulan town and wounded at least six passengers. The blast occurred at the bus terminal while passengers were alighting and boarding the bus. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the daring broad daylight attack, but radical Islamist groups allied with the Islamic State are actively operating in the restive region and targeted civilians in the past. The bombing happened just as Muslims were observing the holy month of Ramadan.