CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Almost a dozen passengers died while 43 were reported injured in a bus explosion in Bukidnon, Dec. 9.
Police report obtained by The Philippine Preview said a Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI) Bus with body number 2640 was in transit in front of the Central Mindanao University (CMU) main entrance along Sayre Highway in Musuan, Brgy. Dologon, Maramag when the incident happened.
The Eastern Mindanao Command said the explosion happened near 6:00 in the evening when most of the passengers were students going to their respective homes.
A different version of the report said most of the passengers were heading home from a fiesta celebration in nearby Wao town when the explosion took place in Maramag.
Some of the victims were rushed to the Adventist Medical Center in Valencia City as police said that nine of the 11 fatalities, five men and four women, died on the spot.
Two other bus passengers died at the Lavinia General Hospital in Valencia, the PNP said, while 45 people were accounted injured.
PNP Bukidnon said in its initial report that an improvised bomb with mobile phone as trigger mechanism was used in the explosion.
Accordingly, the bomb was hidden in a sack and placed in the vehicle's overhead baggage rack.
A report from DxRU-Radio Ultra said, quoting a PNP report, that an 81mm mortar improvised explosive device may have been used.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but Supt. Bernardo Mendoza, spokesperson for PRO-Normin, said the bombing appeared to be the handiwork of the breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
More than a month ago, an RTMI bus also exploded in Bukidnon leaving four people wounded, police believe this may have been another extortion scheme from lawless elements asking protection money.