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2 dead, 5 wounded in North Cotabato bus blast - military

DAVAO CITY, Philippines -- (UPDATE 4 - 2:15 p.m.) Two persons were killed and at least five wounded when a bomb exploded on a passenger bus in North Cotabato Wednesday morning, the military said, drastically scaling down its original casualty count.

Lieutenant Colonel Benjie Hao told reporters the death toll was confirmed after soldiers reached the scene of the blast.

Colonel Leopoldo Galon, spokesman of the Eastern Mindanao Command, had initially announced 10 fatalities and two wounded.

Galon said the Rural Area Transit bus with the body number 2922 had just reached the terminal in Carmen town around 10:25 a.m. when the improvised explosive device planted in the vehicle’s baggage compartment went off.

All the casualties were passengers on the bus, which was traveling from Tacurong City to Cagayan de Oro.
The Eastmincom identified the fatalities as Analyn Sioco, 33, of Malanduage in Kabacan, and Rona Mae Causing, 18, of Bukidnon.

Four of the wounded were identified as Denia Causin of Bukidnon, Alan Hampiso, 36, of Magpet, his six-year old son, Janel Cosca, 11, from Bukidnon. They were rushed to the Kabacan Medical Specialist hospital.

The Rural Area Transit has been attacked in the past in which authorities believe to be extortion attempts by criminal syndicates.

On October 21, 2010, a powerful bomb ripped through a bus of the firm, which was en route to Tacurong City, killing 10 people and wounding several others.

On March 13 this year, a bomb also exploded in a bus at the public terminal in Tacurong City, wounding one.

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