|(Rural bus blast in bukidnon)|
A GROUP of newly-trained bombers of the Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Front were reportedly behind last Tuesday’s bombing of a passenger bus in Maramag town in Bukidnon that left 10 persons dead and 42 others injured.
A military official, citing intelligence information, said the attack on the Rural Transit bus was supposedly led by one Gawtin Gendang, who recently completed training under known BIFF bomber Basit Usman.
“Findings state that the bomb or improvised explosive device was made of an 81 mm mortar round (and was) cellphone-detonated, which points to the group of a certain Dawtin Gendang of BIFF, together with newly-graduates of BIFF as their test mission,” the source said.
“They are students of Basit Usman,” added the source. Usman, formerly associated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, has ties with the Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
The BIFF, composed of about 300 to 400 former MILF leaders and members, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Also pledging allegiance with the ISIS is the Abu Sayyaf, which has about 300 men.
The military official said the improvised bomb used in the attack was similar to the one used by BIFF members in the bombing of another Rural Transit bus also in Maramag town last month that left four people injured.
“They are against the Bangsamoro Basic Law, they want to undermine the peace process,” he said.
Congress is still deliberating on the BBL, which will establish a new political entity as part of the peace pact signed with the MILF last March.
Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City, said another angle is extortion but added it’s not yet clear which group was responsible.