– PHILIPPINES, DAVAO 2003 BOMBING
On 03/02/2003, at about 17:20 local time, a bomb in a rucksack exploded in the Davao airport terminal. 21 people were killed, including an American, a boy, a girl and seven women, and about 140 more wounded. Most of the casulties were among the passengers of an air flight that landed shortly before the explosion occurred.
Davao is one of the biggest cities in the Southern Island of Mindanao, Philippines, inhabited mainly by Muslims, although Davao City is populated by a majority of Christians. In terms of land area Davao is the largest city in the Philippines, occupying 2,444 square kilometers with a large international airport and seaport. Two Islamic separatist groups were operating, for years, in the region – the Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). A spokesman for MILF denied any connection to the attack shortly afterwards.
About an hour later a second a home-made bomb exploded in the town of Tagum, about 55 km north of Davao. The second explosion killed one person and wounded three others outside a local health centre.
After 5 days, on 03/07/2003, a bomb exploded in a rucksack of a motorcyclist near the town of Tukorong in Cebu Island, a part of the Muslim region of South Philippines. The accidentally killed activist was identified as a local JNDONESIAN JI member.
Two days after the Davao attack, the Philippines Police arrested five MILF suspected activists that confessed to complicity in the bombing of the Sasa wharf area in Davao City port, few days prior to the airport attack, as well as to the 03/02/2003 explosion outside Davao’s international airport.
One of those detained, 17-year-old Jimmy Balulao, or Dennis, was being considered for admission to the state witness protection program. Jimmy Balulao, who supposedly served as an errand boy of the group, confessed to placing the parcel bomb outside Davao’s airport on the orders of detained suspects: Ismael Akmad, or Toto, and Tuhami Bagundang, or Tuhami Urong.
According to the police, Tuhami Bagundang has confessed that he was part of an eight-men cell that orchestrated the wharf and airport bombing attacks.
The trial of 45 MILF members suspected in committing the Davao 2003 bombing attack began in Davao in 04/14/2003. Most of the defendants, including Hashim Salamat, one of MILF leaders, were judged in Absentia.
On 06/30/2005 police arrested Ustadz Norodin Mangelen was tagged as principal suspect in the December 2004 Santos Market-blast. He is responsible also for coordinating the Davao attack .
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