Sunday, June 17, 2007

Philippines: 9 dead in bus bombing...

Nine Dead in Philippine Bus Bombing Protection money? OR JIZYA? You make the call.

MANILA, Philippines, June 16--The death toll from a bus bombing in a southern Philippine town rose to nine Saturday, after three wounded people died in hospital overnight, police said.

The blast Friday in Bansalan, Davao del Sur province, came about five minutes after a bomb went off inside a bus owned by the same company in another southern city, causing little damage and no injuries, AP reported. At least 14 other people were wounded in the Bansalan blast.

Extortion appeared to be the likely motive since a group has been demanding 2 million pesos ($40,000) in “protection money“ from the People’s Transport Corp., which operates the buses, regional police director Chief Superintendent Andres Caro II said.

Last week, an explosion ripped through another bus and wounded 11 people in Matalam township in nearby Cotabato province.

Wait for it -

The criminal group, however, could have links to al-Qaida-related terror cells responsible for other bombings in the country, Caro said. "These are not ordinary criminal elements because they know how to make these types of bombs used only by terrorists, and who must have some formal training in constructing and handling these types of improvised explosive device," he said.

Well, well, well. Looky here. Muslims! What a surprise. (not)

Aside from al-Qaida-linked militants, Muslim separatist rebels who have been fighting for a separate homeland in the south for more than three decades, also operate in the area where many bombings have occurred in the past.

Americans to the rescue...again. Even though the Filipino official is very quick to distance himself....

American soldiers arrived here Saturday to help probe the latest in a rash of deadly bus bombings which claimed eight lives.The US bomb experts, who have been training local forces in counter-terrorism, examined the scene after the explosion in Bansalan town late Friday.Small groups of US troops have been serving in Mindanao where they train local soldiers to battle Muslim extremists such as Abu Sayyaf, which both Manila and Washington have linked to the al-Qaeda terror network.

Caro stressed, however, that the police did not ask for any assistance from the Americans or from any foreign forensic experts. “We have not requested for any help from the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) or any other foreign group with the incident. We were expecting only the team from the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame,” Caro said.

Thinking of traveling to the Philippines? You might want to read this.