MANILA — Three people were killed and 27 others wounded in a deadly bomb explosion Sunday in a budget hotel in Zamboanga City.
The two-storey Atilano Pension House in downtown Zamboanga was full of guests for a wedding on Monday when a powerful blast took off around 9:25 p.m. Two people were instantly killed while another man was later found dead under concrete slabs.
The strong blast also damaged nearby buildings. Police identified the dead as Noel Delgado, Fidel Aguias, and a certain Mariz.
Police have identified two possible suspects behind the explosion, saying the type of bomb used was similar to that used by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
In a Manila Times report, Regional police director Felicisimo Khu of the Integrated Police Operation in Western Mindanao, said the explosive used in the incident was a TNT (trinitrotoluene) bomb and “the type, nature and make of these IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are associated with the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Khu said the bomb used was similar to the one that exploded at the Red Palm Pension House last October 9 and at Mon’s Kitchenette in Isabela City in Basilan last June 25 where two people were killed and 15 others injured.
According to the report, the police are now investigating a certain Jeffrey and an unidentified woman who checked in at Room 222 of the Atilano pension house and “hurriedly left” minutes before the explosion.
Police said the blast was so powerful it caused much of the second floor to collapse, blew off the hotel roof and shattered glass panes and windows from nearby buildings.
Zamboanga City has been a central location of violence in the region. The Abu Sayyaf was founded in the early 1990s in Basilan Island off the coast of the Zamboanga peninsula.
The Abu Sayyaf group has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in what it describes as its fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines. The United States Department of State has classified ASG as a terrorist group.