From the Philippine Star (Jan 2): Cops, troops hunt Basilan blast suspects
Police and military forces launched manhunt operations against the suspects behind the bombing that killed seven villagers and wounded five others in a village of Sumisip town, Basilan province, according to officials.
This as Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) regional Governor Mujiv Hataman said he is willing to shell out bounty for the immediate arrest of the suspects responsible for the blast at sitio Fine Tree, Barangay Tumahubong.
Hataman, who personally visited the area, said the blast Tuesday night, was caused by grenade and not improvised bomb as reported earlier.
He said the victims came from a mass in a nearby parish church and were having New Year’s party in a gazebo when the explosion occurred.
The police and military investigating the case are looking into two or three angles in the blast, Hataman said. No other details were disclosed.
The authorities said the explosion was unlikely to be related to the previous attack in the area that was blamed on the Abu Sayyaf group, which was allegedly extorting from villagers, who are mostly cooperative plantation workers in Tumahubong, a vast rubber plantation in Basilan.
Hataman said the police led by Basilan provincial director Senior Superintendent Mario Dapillosa are set to complete the investigation soon.
“There should be no let up in the [pursuit] operations. Dapat may managot dito at mabigyan ng hustisya ang mga inosenteng biktima,” Hataman said.
Hataman said he had discussed with the police and military officials the possibility of putting up a bounty that will help speed up the arrest of the suspects and resolution of the case.
“We are willing to put up bounty or whatever fastest way for the arrest of the suspects and give justice to the victims,” Hataman said.
Malacañang has paid the medical bills of the victims and gave P5,000 to each of them through Hataman who visited the wounded at the Zamboanga City Medical Center in this city.
Hataman also visited the wake of those who were killed and provided P10,000 each and additional assistance for their burial.