Bukidnon bus bombing suspect linked to previous bombings in North Cotabato

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KIDAPAWAN CITY: The suspect in the Bukidnon bus bombing was previously involved in bombing attacks in North Cotabato, arrested but escaped.

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Police authorities in Bukidnon has identified a man who allegedly planted an improvised bomb in a Rural Transit Bus and set it off on Dec. 9 that left 10 dead and 42 others wounded.

Macmod Manibpil, who was linked to previous bus bombings in North Cotabato, was earlier reported to be from Mlang town.

But Mayor Joselito Pinol denied Manibpil was from his town.

Senior Inspector Jiselle Lou Longakit, Bukidnon police spokesperson, said Manibpil was linked to the Kabacan bus bombing in 2006, arrested but managed to escape from North Cotabato jail. After his escape, he joined the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a ragtag bandits that broke out with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MMILF).

Longakit said Manibpil and Dawtin Gendang, suspect in the Nov. 6 bombing of another Rural Bus, also in Bukidnon, remain at large. Four persons were wounded in the Nov. 6 blast.

The police spokesperson said police special tracker team had been sent to locate the two suspects.

As in previous bombing incidents, the BIFF, through Abu Misry Mama, earlier denied involvement in the bus bombing.

Longakit said the motive could be extortion since the Rural Transit Mindanao Incorporated, operator of Rural Bus, admitted to authorities they have been receiving extortion demand and received threats that one of its units will be bombed for refusal to provide “protection money.”

Pinol said Macmod Manibpil is a resident of Barangay Nuangan, Kidapawan City and not the town of Mlang.

Mayor Pinol said Manibpil was arrested due to his alleged participation in the Kidapawan Bus Terminal and LBC bombings in October of 2003.

The twin Kidapawan bombings claimed at least a dozen lives and hurt several passengers and bystanders.Mayor Pinol said that his source told him that Manibpil was facing multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder cases filed in Kidapawan City Regional Trial Court.

“I’ve asks my barangay chairmen but they don’t know this man. But when I ask my sources from the authorities they confirmed to me that Manibpil is from Kidapawan City,” Mayor Pinol said.

The Bukdinon police said Manibpil was tagged in the bombing after two witnesses confirmed a man with the same features as Manibpil, seen with a bull cap, was seen boarding the bus carrying a backpack but later left.

The mayor added that Manibpil was detained at the Cotabato Provincial Jail, in Barangay Amas, Kidapawan but was able to escape when armed men stormed the jail facility in February 2, 2007.

At least 47 inmates bolted the jail, including three high-profile inmates involved in series of bombing activities in North Cotabato and other parts of Mindanao.

The three suspected bombers were identified as Datu Ali Sultan, Guido and Mundos.

At least 25 armed men believed to be members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) stormed the jail and fired M-203 grenade launcher, destroying the concrete wall of the jail facility to bolt out companions.

Police are also trying to link the two suspects in the Kabacan and Mlang bombings last month that left four dead and 45 others wounded. PNA

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