Three people, including a village official, were injured when a grenade lobbed by still unidentified armed men exploded at a former Army detachment in Pikit, North Cotabato, Thursday night, police said.

Delbert Mamon, 44, a kagawad of Brgy. Kapinpilan, Midsayap; Renante Duero, 37; and Datuan Bangkonian, 21, were brought to the Cruzado Hospital and Cadulong Clinic due to shrapnel wounds, North Cotabato provincial police director Senior Supt. Roque Alcantara said.

The three were waiting for a ride in front of the abandoned Buhisan Detachment in Brgy. Batulawan, when the explosion occurred around 8:30 p.m., he said.

Alcantara said two men on a motorcycle lobbed the grenade at the detachment and quickly sped off.

“Akala siguro nila may tao pa sa detachment, vinacate na ‘yun ng Army kaya lang nung hinagisan ng granada may tinamaan naman na napadaang tao,” he said in a phone interview.

Investigators have yet to determine the motive for the bombing, but Alcantara said it could be meant to divert authorities’ attention from an ongoing operation to rescue gasoline station owner Anna Datuwata Cuan and her secretary Cristabel Colona.

Cuan and Colona were abducted by armed men at their gasoline station in nearby Libungan town on Tuesday.

“Hindi ko pa directly nire-relate pero isa ‘yun sa mga tinitingnan kasi may ongoing kaming hot pursuit ngayon dun sa abductors,” Alcantara said. (John Roson)

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