COTABATO: A homemade bomb exploded on a bus, killing a passenger and injuring 10 others in a southern Philippine city on Sunday in an attack that authorities suspect was an extortion attempt, officials said.
The bus, carrying an unspecified number of passengers, was approaching a transport terminal in Tacurong city in Sultan Kudarat province when a bomb exploded in the back of the vehicle shortly before noon, police said.
Investigators were trying to determine whether the attackers were from the same armed group that had staged similar bombings in previous years to extort money from the yellow bus line, which operates in key southern cities, military and police officials said.
Regional Army Commander Maj. Gen. Roy Galido said the bus company was “constantly receiving extortion messages.” The military and police are working with the bus owners to catch the extortionists, who may have been angered by the bus company’s refusal to pay, Galido said.
Police have blamed similar bus bombings in the past on the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a small rebel force that has joined Islamic State.
The group split years ago from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front when the latter entered peace talks with the government and accepted an offer of Muslim autonomy in the five-province region in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.