2 dead, 6 hurt in 2 Quiapo blasts; terror ruled out

MANILA — Two explosions rocked a busy area in Quiapo, Manila Saturday, killing two persons and injuring six others.

The first blast took place at around 5:55 p.m. in a strip of stalls along Norzagaray Street corner Elizondo Street, near the Barbosa Police Community Precinct.

Less than three hours later, another blast happened just a few meters from the first explosion site at around 8:32 p.m. near Quiapo’s Golden Mosque.

The first explosion reportedly left 2 people dead and four others wounded,, including a child while, the second one sligjtly injured two responding personnel from the Explosives and Ordnance Division and Scene of the Crime Operation (SOCO).

Investigators identified the policemen as Chief Inspector Eliza Arturo of the Manila Police District (MPD) SOCO, who was brought to the Medical Center Manila, and Police Officer 2 Aldrin Resos of MPD’s EOD, who was administered first aid.

National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar Agbayalde, in an earlier interview on ANC Saturday night, said that in the first blast, the explosive was contained in a package that was intended for a “specific person”.

“There are no indications that this is a terrorist attack. The package was intended for a specific person,” he said.

The two fatalities were the person who delivered the package and the one who received it, he said.

Dead on the spot were a certain Mohamad Bainga, who was carrying the package containing the explosive and the unidentified stall caretaker who received it.

Police identified three other injured victims from adjacent stalls as Jaber Galum of Lanao del Sur, Datu Sohair Adapun of Marawi City, and Hajhi Ali of Gunao, Quiapo.

Galum and Adapun were brought to the Mary Chiles Hospital while Ali is now being treated at the UST Hospital.

According to SPO3 Dennis Insierto of MPD-District Special Operations Unit (DSOU), the explosions were believed to be caused by warring Muslim clans.

Insierto said the bomb was meant for a Muslim lawyer, leader of Sia clan – which is allegedly one of the lowest class of Muslim clans – but accidentally went off while still in the hands of a courier of the Sunni group, which is reportedly considered as an elite Muslim group.

He also ruled out the possibility that the incidents were the handiwork of terrorists.

It can be recalled that the terrorist group (International State of Iraq and Syria) claimed responsibility for the April 28 explosion in Quiapo, on the eve of the opening of the 30th ASEAN leaders summit in Manila.

Police assurance

Meanwhile, the NCRPO chief urged the public to be vigilant and cooperate with the police as he mourns the loss of lives in the twin blasts.

“While our team assess and investigate the situation in Quiapo, I urge everyone to remain vigilant and provide cooperation to our policemen especially those living the area of explosion,” Agbayalde said in a statement. “Your authorities are on top of the situation, while there is no reason for the public to be alarmed.”

“I request everyone especially those on social media to please refrain from posting and passing on unconfirmed information so we do not sow fear or mislead the public,” he added.

He also urged the public to report immediately to the police anything out of the ordinary.

“We will update you on the case as soon as our team will complete assessment in the area,” he said.

He assured everyone that the police will leave no stones unturned until arrests are made and justice given to the victims.

Agbayalde said he has also ordered all policemen on the ground to stay alert and focus 
on securing their areas of responsibility.

“Please allow us to do our job and we will inform everyone on the progress of the investigation,” he said. PNA-northboundasia.com