An improvised explosive device (IED) went off inside a pension house in Zamboanga City Sunday night, leaving three people dead and 27 others injured hours after two other bombs were found in neighboring Isabela City, Basilan, police said.

Director Felicisimo Khu, head of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, said 30 persons were brought to the hospital after getting hurt in the blast.

Three victims, identified as Roel Barcelona, Fidel Aguias, and a certain Mariz, died on the way to the hospital, city police director Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo said.

Some of the victims suffered wounds caused by nails, which were used as “shrapnels” for the IED, Khu said.

Investigators are still trying to determine if the bomb was made of trinitrotoluene (TNT) or ammonium nitrate with fuel oil (ANFO), he added.

The explosion happened around 9:25 p.m. at the Atilano Pension House along Mayor Jaldon st. in Brgy. Canelar.

It caused a fire, which totally razed the inn’s second floor and most of the ground floor before it was put out 11 p.m., De Ocampo said in a phone interview.

Earlier in the day, two improvised explosive devices (IED) were found in Isabela City, which is just a 15-minute boat ride from Zamboanga City.

The first IED was found shortly before 2 p.m. near a store at the rotunda connecting Brgy. Aguada to Brgy. Mabarakat. Authorities found a triggering device, battery, and concrete nails after disrupting the bomb.

Around 2:50 p.m., another IED was found inside a plastic bag abandoned in Brgy. Aguada. It was disrupted arpund 3:45 p.m.

The bomb was composed of a blasting cap, two 9-volt batteries, a silicon control rectifier, two LED lights, a wireless doorbell, resistors, an improvised circuit board, a jack connector, slide switch, concrete nails, and a can containing what is believed to be ANFO.

It was still unknown if the explosion in Zamboanga City was connected to the planting of bombs in Isabela City.

Isabela City, though located in Basilan, is considered a part of the Zamboanga Peninsula after residents voted against its inclusion to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao during the November 1989 plebiscite. (John Roson)

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