VALENTINE’S DAY BOMBINGS
On 02/14/2005 at about 18:30, two months after the Santos Market-blast, a bomb went of in the Christian town of General Santos, Mindanao, in the far Southern Philippines. Mindanao is populated mainly by Muslims. The bomb went off outside the Gaisano Mall in General Santos City, killed at least 3 people and wounded around 33 others.The bomb was stashed in a bag at a stand for three-wheel Pedi cab about 30 meters away from the mall entrance.
A 12-year-old boy died on the spot when a second bomb went off almost simultaneously at a bus terminal in Davao City, also in Mindanao. Five others were injured.
Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility in a phone call. Abu Sayyaf leader Abu-Sulaiman called the bombings a Valentine’s Day “gift” to President Arroyo. “You can attribute this to us,” Abu-Sulaiman said in a call to local radio, “There is one more to come.”
20 minutes later, at about 19:50, a third bomb went of in a bus in the near by town of Makati, killing 6 people and wounding 70 others. The bomb exploded in the busy highway of EDSA in the financial district of Makati just below the station for an elevated train of the Metro Rail Transit and near the Intercontinental Hotel.
In a second call to DZBB radio, Abu-Sulaiman said: “Our latest operations — planned and executed with precision by the gallant warriors of Islam — is our continuing response to the Philippine government’s atrocities committed against Muslims everywhere.”
Earlier in the day, five explosive devices containing trinitrotoluene (TNT) were defused after they were found in front of a building in San Martin de Porres along East Service Road in Parañaque City, 13 km Southern to the Philippines capital Manila, about 1000 km North to General Santos.
The bombings occurred just when the Pilipino army launched yet another offensive in Southern Philippines aimed to oust Islamic rebels from their strongholds in the South.
An Abu Sayyaf operative Nasid Tajid, 26, alias Rudimar Taji, was arrested the next day, on 02/15/2005 in Zamboanga. Nasid Tajid was implicated with the Valentine’s Day bombings.
On 02/22/2005 Pilipino police arrested the Valentines Day Squad, suspected of committing the bombings. Abdul Kareem Ayeras or Abdul Mujib, one of the prime suspects in the 2005 Valentine’s Day bombing in Makati City was arrested, eventually, on 01/08/2008.
* The mastermind of the attack, Dinno Amor Pareja, was arrested on Friday 08/21/2009.
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