Men with links to the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) detonated a motorcycle bomb in Cotabato City Tuesday afternoon, just two days into Ramadan, leaving two people dead and nine injured, a military official said.

Gemana Aly alias Jimmy, 53, a photographer, died on the spot while another victim died at the hospital, Army 6th Infantry Division spokesman Col. Prudencio Asto said.

Police identified some of the injured as Bryan Go, Nestor Luna, Aniza Pasandalan, Janimah Tayuan, Nancy Lagumon, Datu Uke Karudin, Delio Tumandag, and Cherry Danosnia.

“May isa ring bata, 50-50 na nung madala sa ospital,” Asto said in a phone interview.

The explosion occurred in front of a pharmacy and the CWAT gun store near Parang Road and Quezon Ave. past 2 p.m.

Initial findings by the 6th Army Explosive and Ordnance Disposal Unit showed that the bomb was composed of four 81-millimeter mortar rounds and a cellphone, Asto said.

“This is a handiwork of the group ng mga estudyante ni Basit Usman, of the special operations group of the Jemaah Islamiyah, ‘yan ‘yung mga signature bomb nila,” Asto said.

Police, meanwhile, are also looking at other angles.

Director Felicisimo Khu, chief of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, said the gun store is reportedly owned by a certain Martinez, a friend of the influential Ampatuan clan of Maguindanao.

“The improvised explosive device that went off was placed inside a motorcycle parked in front of the gun store,” he added. (John Roson)

– end –