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Bus Bomb Kills 4 in S. Philippines

September 21, 1999

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (AP) _ A bomb exploded inside a passenger bus taking a rest stop in the southern Philippines today, killing at least four people _ including two small children _ and injuring dozens of others, police said.

It was at least the fourth blast to hit buses on the island of Mindanao since last month. The earlier attacks injured several passengers. Military and police have linked those attacks to members of the extremist Abu Sayyaf secessionist group or a Muslim separatist group.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for today’s blast.

The latest bombing prompted the military to set up checkpoints along the two national highways in the western half of Mindanao to inspect all buses. The military also instructed police to take security measures at the region’s 300 bus terminals, Lt. Gen. Edgardo Espinosa said.

The bus was parked outside rows of eateries in Dipolog City, about 16 miles east of Zamboanga, for a rest stop, when the bomb exploded in the middle of the vehicle, police officer Virgilo Fuentevilla said.

A 30-year-old mother was found dead on the bus, while her husband, 36, and their 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son died at a hospital, Fuentevilla said.

At least 29 passengers who had been resting inside the bus, along with three street vendors, were treated at hospitals. Some were in critical condition.

The rest of the approximately 60 passengers had left the bus before the explosion, Fuentevilla said.

The lunchtime blast also injured several passengers on another bus parked beside the first.

Police were investigating the type of explosives used. They suspected that a timing device was used, similar to those employed in the other recent bombings.

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