Al Qaeda-linked extortion gang warns of more blasts
A notorious extortion group linked with Al Qaeda warned on Wednesday of more bomb attacks in the southern Philippine province of North Cotabato if the governor continues ignoring their protection money demand, police said, Xinhua reported.
A man claiming to be an Al Khobar member gave the warning through a text message, saying more attacks would happen if North Cotabato Governor Lala Talino-Mendoza will not meet their demands for "protection money," said Winston Seniel, police chief of Carmen town.
"Please give us the mobile phone number of the governor if you want to end the conflict in the north. If not, expect more to come from us. This is the Al Khobar. Please send this message to the governor," Seniel said, quoting the message from the gang.
On Monday, a bomb exploded at the bus depot of Carmen town in North Cotabato, leaving one dead and two civilians wounded.
A homemade bomb detonated by cell phone ripped through a deluxe passenger bus of Rural Transit Inc., killing 11 people and wounding at least 30 others on Oct. 21 in nearby Matalam town.
The Al Khobar gang, composed of former Moro rebels, was previously linked to the Abu Sayyaf and has been blamed for the spate of bus bombing incidents in southern and central Mindanao regions since 2006.
Dozens of people died in the bus bombing incidents that authorities had traced to the refusal of bus companies to give in to the demands of the extortion gang.