MANILA — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has started the investigation behind the series of Yellow Bus Line, Inc. (YBLI), Mindanao Star Bus, and Rural Tours bombing attacks in Mindanao.
In the past two years, there were already six (6) bombings attacks against bus companies in Mindanao.
NBI Director ERIC B. DISTOR leads the probe and calls on NBI Regional Directors and officials to take part in the said investigation.
Along with a team of NBI-Counter-Terrorism Division (NBI-CTD) operatives and NBI forensic experts and evidence response team, Distor traveled to the areas of concern in Mindanao.
NBI Deputy Director for Forensic Investigation Service (DDFIS) Ferdinand Lavin and Deputy Director for Intelligence Service (DDIntS) Roel Bolivar also joined the NBI team in Mindanao.
The series of bombing incidents started on January 7, 2021, with a hoax bomb threat and extortion demand being sent to YBLI Koronadal City, South Cotabato office.
At the time of the call, YBL bus no. 2688 was at the Kidapawan, Cotabato Overland Terminal and was searched by PNP EOD.
The emplaced improvised explosive device (IED) was found thereat and was rendered safe. Footage taken from the YBL Bus no. 2688 CCTV camera showed two male passengers leaving the IED inside the bus.
Twenty (20) days after, on January 27, 2021, a bomb exploded in YBLI bus no. 2988 at a stopover at National Highway, Crossing Sibsib, Tulunan, North Cotabato.
A civilian was killed and four (4) more were wounded in the incident. Extortion and terrorism were the motives for the bombing according to the military.
Another bombing incident took place on June 3, 2021, where a YBLI bus no. A-104 was burned in M’Lang, North Cotabato, killing three (3) civilians even as six (6) others suffered injuries.
This year, four (4) bus bombings occurred in separate locations in Mindanao. On January 11, 2022, a Mindanao Star bus was bombed in Aleosan, North Cotabato where a five-year-old boy expired and three (3) individuals got injured.
On April 24, 2022, a Rural Tours Bus exploded in Parang, Maguindanao hurting at least three (3) passengers.
On May 26, 2022, two (2) separate explosions also transpired while another YBLI bus (no. 2108) was bombed in Koronadal City, wounding two civilians.
Reportedly, YBLI received an extortion demand before the attack.
On the other hand, a roadside explosion took place at Exit Road, Brgy Calean, Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident. Extortion and terrorism also appeared to be the motives of the bombing based on information gathered.
The Bureau’s probe of the series of bombings is directed at ensuring national security as well as preventing possible major attacks not only in Mindanao but also in the entire country.
(Kiara Lauren Ibanez/BENJAMIN CUARESMA/ai/mtvn)