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Bomb explodes inside bus in Southern Philippines

COTABATO CITY – A small improvised explosive went off inside a provincial bus in southern Philippines on Friday and luckily no passengers were killed or injured in the blast, authorities said.

It said the blast occurred in Santo Niño town in South Cotabato province and police were investigating the explosion that targeted a unit owned by the Yellow Bus Lines. The bus came from Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat and heading to Koronadal City when a passenger noticed the explosive and alerted the driver.

The passengers were ordered to quickly get off the bus before the bomb exploded.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Just in May this year, police also disarmed an improvised explosive planted in another bus – owned by the same company – travelling to Koronadal City from Tacurong in Sultan Kudarat.

A passenger had alerted the driver after discovering the bomb – wrapped in newspaper and plastic sheet – at the rear of the bus. The bus driver and his conductor immediately informed the police about the explosive and ordered passengers to disembark so authorities can retrieve the bomb and disarmed it.

In April, policemen foiled a deadly attack on another unit owned by Yellow Bus Lines following the discovery of a powerful improvised explosive inside a provincial bus in Tacurong City.

The improvised explosive – assembled from two 60mm mortar bombs – was discovered during an inspection at a security checkpoint. Members of the army’s 33rd Explosive Ordnance Division recovered the bomb and safely disrupted the explosive.

Previous bus bombings in the troubled region were largely blamed to separatist rebels and extortionists. Authorities have repeatedly told bus operators to enforce strict security and inspect baggage of passengers, and put up security cameras in terminals and inside the bus. (Mindanao Examiner)

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