Tag Archive: bombing


An Abu Sayyaf member and a government soldier were killed while at least two other bandits and one trooper were injured in a clash in Sumisip, Basilan, early Friday, the military said.

Killed were one soldier and an Abu Sayyaf member identified as Samir Balaman, said Lieutenant Colonel Eliglen Villaflor, commander of the Army’s 4th Special Forces Battalion (4th SFB).

Elements of the 4th SFB were conducting operations 7:50 a.m. Friday when they encountered Abu Sayyaf members led by Pasil Bayali and Radzmil Janatul in Sitio Penas, Brgy. Upper Benengbengan, Villaflor said in a statement.

The bandits, numbering around 15, engaged troopers in a 15-minute firefight before they withdrew, Lieutenant Sally Christine Magno, Armed Forces Joint Task Group-Basilan spokesperson, said in a text message.

Two soldiers were initially wounded in the fighting.

“One is now in stable condition while the other perished during medical evacuation,” Villaflor said. He declined to name the two until their families are informed.

Villaflor said several Abu Sayyaf members were wounded. Magno said field reports indicated that at least two bandits were hurt.

The clash occurred a week after suspected Abu Sayyaf members detonated an improvised bomb at the boundary of nearby Tipo-Tipo and Ungkaya Pukan towns on Aug. 7, killing two soldiers.

Both casualties were part of a team tasked to provide route security for military convoys and commuters passing the area, according to the AFP Joint Task Force Zambasulta.

Bayali and Janatul’s group is responsible for the recent IED attacks which targetted military troops and civillian construction companies along the Basilan Circumfirential Road, as well as the destruction of the Maluso Water System which had left local residents waterless for three days at the start of Ramadan, Villaflor said.

Combat operations are being conducted to “clear Sumisip of Abu Sayyaf presence, which has been hampering socio-economic activities and threatening lives,” Magno said.

Troops have been sent to pursue the bandits who were encountered Friday, she said. (John Roson)

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An alleged student of slain Malaysian bomb expert Marwan who is himself wanted for carrying out bombings, was arrested in Panaon, Misamis Occidental, Saturday afternoon, a police official said.

Arrested was Abdul Malik Sali, a member of the Al Khobar group, Northern Mindanao regional police director Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said.

Elements of the Panaon Police and the PNP’s anti-terror Special Project: Mindanao Khilafah Islamiyah arrested Sali at a checkpoint along the National Highway around 5:30 p.m., Cruz said in a text message.

Operatives carried out the arrest on warrants for multiple murder with frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder, he said.

Sali is believed to be behind two bombing incidents in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, and Digos City, Davao del Sur, where several lives were lost, Cruz said.

He is a “member of the Al Khobar terrorist group under the umbrella of the group of Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan,” the police official said.

Sali’s arrest came almost two months after Marwan, a suspect in the deadly 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, was killed in a raid by the PNP Special Action Force in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last January 25.

The raid, however, also cost the lives of 44 SAF members as armed Moro groups ganged up on the police commandos.

In 2008, the Department of Interior and Local Government announced a P400,000 reward for anyone who can help authorities capture Sali, one of the suspects in the bombing of a Metro Shuttle Bus in September 1 that year.

The incident killed at least five people and injured 30 others.

Same bounties were offered for Sali’s fellow bombing suspects Mahir Abu Bakr and Jonaria Mindiba.

Al Khobar is a group of extortionists based in the marshlands of Maguindanao and are responsible for the spate of bombings in Central Mindanao since 2006, according to a statement issued by the PNP in 2013.

The group was allegedly created to support the Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah and other foreign militant jihadist groups.

It was intended to serve as a special unit concentrating on using explosives and carrying out extortion schemes across Cotabato, until it transformed into a kidnap-for-ransom gang and, much later, into an extortion group, according to the police statement. (John Roson)

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The government sacked the commander of the National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) following the death of more than 40 police commandos in a clash with Muslim armed groups in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, over the weekend.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina made the announcement then claimed that they did not recieve prior notice of the elite police unit’s operation, which eventually turned into the bloody clash.

Director Getulio Napeñas was relieved as SAF commander pending the result of an investigation by the PNP, Roxas said in a press briefing in Camp Crame Tuesday.

“He (Napeñas) was given chance to help recover body of his men, but today he was recalled back to Manila,” Roxas added.

Espina said in the same briefing that SAF deputy commander Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño will replace Napeñas, in an officer-in-charge capacity.

“His (Napeñas) administrative relief will pave the way for the start of the board of inquiry, I would like to get to bottom of things,” he said.

The inquiry will be conducted by Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Western Mindanao head Dir. Edgardo Ingking, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief Dir. Benjamin Magalong, and Directorate for Research and Development head Chief Supt. Catalino Rodriguez, Espina said.

Crame ‘not told’ of SAF operation

Roxas and Espina claimed that the DILG and PNP leadership were not informed of Sunday’s SAF operation in Mamasapano — which involved almost a battalion of police commandos in full battle gear — before it was executed.

“No… Ang masasabi natin, hindi ‘yan dumating sa command group,” Roxas said when asked if the operation was cleared with him.

“It did not reach the command group. That’s as far as I can say, everything will be tackled in the board of inquiry… It didn’t reach us,” Espina said for his part.

A total of 392 SAF members from different parts of the country participated in the operation, which targetted Malaysian Jemaah Islamiyah operative Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino bomb expert Abdul Basit Usman, Roxas said.

“It was a legitimate operation,” Roxas said in a televised press briefing in Maguindanao on Monday afternoon.

Bitter pill

Roxas on Tuesday maintained his careful stance on how the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) — which just concluded peace negotiations with the government last year — was involved in the clash that followed the SAF raid.

As of Tuesday, 44 SAF members were confirmed killed while 12 are injured and 336 are unharmed and accounted for, Roxas said.

“Tuloy ang tiwala at kumpiyansa ng PNP sa peace process na bagamat napakalungkot, matindi ang kapaitan ng pangyayari, ang mas malawak na peace process ay mahalaga at kabahagi ang PNP sa pagsulong ng peace process,” he said.

The government and MILF signed a peace agreement March 2014 and are currently waiting for the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which will implement their deal.

Congress’ deliberations on the BBL were suspended until investigations on the clash are completed.

Elements of the SAF were first attacked by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), then had a “misencounter” with members of the MILF, Roxas explained.

The DILG chief also said Tuesday that investigators still have yet to determine if Marwan, who is wanted by the U.S. government, had indeed been killed in the SAF raid as earlier field reports indicated.

‘Justice’

Despite their toned-down stance, Roxas and Espina vowed to give “justice” to the slain SAF members.

“‘Yung pagbibigay ng katarungan ay sa dalawang paraan – filing ng kaso versus sa mga pumatay sa SAF heroes, kabahagi na nito ‘yung kung may lapses at pananagutin kung meron man, and honors and benefits,” Roxas said.

Espina said full honors, awards, and promotion will be given to the slain police commandos while benefits will be extended to their families.

“I will recommend the highest possible medals to be given — equivalent to a Gold Cross medal — to our fallen heroes. I will also recommend spot promotion of those who died in this operation. Full state honors, benefits will be given,” he said.

Director Rolando Purugganan, head of the Directorate for Comptollership, was tasked to facilitate and ensure the distribution of awards and benefits to the slain policemen and their families, Espina said.

Central Mindanao police take strong stance

While the DILG and PNP leadership kept statements at a low key, the Central Mindanao regional police outrightly condemned the killing of SAF members in Mamasapano.

“The bloodbath brought about by the brutal and cowardly doing of heartless rebel groups was such inimical and condemnable act,” Chief Superintendent Lester Camba, director of the Region 12 police said in a statement.

Camba’s statement came along with one from North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza.

“The incident is condemnable, we must not forget the series of bombings that occurred in the province of North Cotabato… Our elite special forces were going after two notorious bomb makers,” the police statement quoted Mendoza as saying.

Marwan and Usman, along with members of the BIFF, are blamed for the recent bombings in North Cotabato and other parts of Central Mindanao.

North Cotabato and Maguindanao share a vast, marshy border where bombing suspects and rebels who conducted attacks in previous years are said to be hiding.

“While we support our peace initiatives, our government troops who set law and maintain order in this civilized society should be respected and not killed,” Mendoza added.

Blast kills 2

As Tuesday wound to a close, a still unidentified type of explosive went off in Pikit, North Cotabato, killing two people.

The explosion occurred near a convenience store along Manuel L. Quezon st., Brgy. Poblacion, around 6:11 p.m., said Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, public affairs officer of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

Two persons on a motorcycle died on the spot because of the blast, Petinglay said in a text message.

The two are “suspected bombers killed by the premature explosion of the IED (improvised explosive device) they were carrying,” Senior Superintendent Danilo Peralta, director of the North Cotabato provincial police, said in a separate message.

Local police are still trying to identify the fatalities and the type of IED that went off, Peralta said. (John Roson)

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photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

The number of fatalities in the suspected car bomb explosion in Zamboanga City rose to two while the injured now stand at 52, authorities said Saturday.

This developed as it was learned that all police units in Mindanao had been placed under the highest alert status due to “threats of terrorism,” hours before the blast.

The second fatality was identified as Dennis Valiente, Zamboanga City Police director Senior Superintendent Angelito Casimiro said in a text message.

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

Valiente, 33, expired around 8:30 p.m. while undergoing treatment at the Western Mindanao Medical Center (WMMC), according to an emailed report from the Zamboanga Peninsula regional police.

Ten of the injured, including policeman SPO1 Sanzibal Laha Bajari, remain at the WMMC, Zamboanga City Medical Center, Ciudad Medical Center, Zamboanga Peninsula Medical Center, and the Doctors Hospital as of Saturday, according to the report.

Members of the 9th Regional Crime Laboratory Ofice are still trying to determine the type of improvised explosive that went off, Casimiro said.

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

The military said earlier that Friday’s 3:30 p.m. explosion came from a red Toyota sedan parked beside the Fantasy disco bar in Brgy. Guiwan.

The bar is just in front of the Guiwan bus terminal.

Members of the military’s Task Group Zamboanga (TGZ) and policemen cordoned the area while forensics teams gathered materials to determine the type of improvised explosive device that went off.

Superintendent Ariel Huesca, Zamboanga City Police spokesman, said Friday night that additional policemen from the 9th Regional Public Safety Battalion and TGZ have also been scattered in and around the city to conduct checkpoints.

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

photo from Zamboanga City Police Public Safety Company

The explosion occurred while government troops are conducting an offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in neighboring Basilan province.

The al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for several bombing incidents in Zamboanga City in the past.

Abu Sayyaf retaliation eyed

A senior police official said Saturday that the bombing in Brgy. Guiwan may have been a retaliation for a foiled attempt to spring Abu Sayyaf members from the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center.

“It’s the foiled jail escape,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Jail guards foiled the plot on January 19, after finding three guns and more than 100 ammunition inside two cells of the ZCRC.

The firearms and ammunition, which were supposed to be used in the escape of 57 Abu Sayyaf inmates, were hidden inside two concrete stoves brought in by a woman, according to a report from the regional police.

Entire Mindanao on full alert

Meanwhile, another police official said Saturday that all police units in Mindanao had been placed under the highest alert status before the explosion in Zamboanga City.

“All of Mindanao is in full alert… It took effect Friday morning,” Northern Mindanao regional police director Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said in a text message.

National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina ordered the raising of the alert status, Cruz said.

Cruz, in a statement emailed Friday night, said he directed all police units in his region to observe the status in light of “threats of terrorism” and the IED explosion in Zamboanga.

Full alert, the highest among three police alert statuses, means that all policemen in affected units should be available for duty.

The implementation of full alert in Northern Mindanao comes with “target-hardening” measures, 24/7 checkpoints, deployment of EOD and K-9 units at bus terminals, maximized police visibility in areas of convergence, and border patrols, Cruz said.

“Surprise random checkpoints are also implemented,” he said.

Northern Mindanao is connected to the Zamboanga Peninsula in the west by Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte.

The region’s two highly urbanized cities – Cagayan de Oro and Iligan – experienced bombings by the Abu Sayyaf and other Islamic militants in recent years.

“While the PNP enourages vigilance, the public is advised not to panic… Community members are encouraged to report suspicious individuals and activities to the nearest police station,” Cruz said in his statement. (John Roson)

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(Update 10 p.m.) A man was killed while 48 other people were injured when an improvised bomb exploded beside a disco bar in Zamboanga City Friday afternoon, authorities said.

“One died while forty-five persons were wounded in the IED (improvised explosive device) explosion,” Zamboanga City police spokesman Superintendent Ariel Huesca said in a text message Friday night.

Captain Maria Rowena Muyuela, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, said in an emailed statement that the number of injured later rose to 48, as per the city government’s tally.

The victims were brought to the Western Mindanao Medical Center, Zamboanga City Medical Center, Zamboanga Peninsula Hospital and Doctors Hospital, Huesca said.

Killed was Reynaldo Tan, while the injured include a person who is “critically wounded” and a policeman, city police information officer SPO2 Alex Mabalot said by phone.

‘Blast came from car’

The blast came from a car parked beside the Fantasy Disco Pub in Brgy. Guiwan, Muyuela said, citing information from the Task Group Zamboanga (TGZ).

The explosive was “encased” in a red Toyota sedan (WOH-608) owned by one Ralph Lakibul, a resident of Brgy. Canelar, according to a separate military report.

“Hindi totally nawasak ‘yung kotse, mare-recognize mo pa ‘yung porma niya na kotse, pero nakataas na ‘yung hood,” Mabalot said.

The site of the 3:30 p.m. explosion is located just across the street in front of the Guiwan Bus Terminal, he added.

Security tightened

Members of the TGZ and policemen have cordoned the area, Muyuela said.

Post-blast investigation was still ongoing Friday night “to determine the signature/type of IED used by the perpetrators,” Huesca said.

“Undetermined pa kung ano ang sumabog, maraming version, we are still waiting for the EOD (explosives and ordnance disposal unit) to report,” Mabalot said.

Additional policemen from the 9th Regional Public Safety Battalion and TGZ have also been scattered in and around the city to conduct checkpoints, Huesca said.

The explosion occurred while security forces are conducting an offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in neighboring Basilan province.

The al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for several bombing incidents in Zamboanga City in the past.

Northern Mindanao alerted

Meanwhile, policemen in the neighboring region of Northern Mindanao were placed under full alert – the highest among three alert statuses – after the explosion in Zamboanga City.

All police units were told to observe the status in light of the IED explosion and “threats of terrorism,” regional police director Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said in a statement.

The full alert status comes with “target-hardening” measures, 24/7 checkpoints, deployment of EOD and K-9 units at bus terminals, maximized police visibility in areas of convergence, and border patrols, he said.

Northern Mindanao is connected to the Zamboanga Peninsula in the west by Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte.

The region’s two highly urbanized cities – Cagayan de Oro and Iligan – already experienced bombings by the Abu Sayyaf and other Islamic militants in recent years.

“While the PNP enourages vigilance, the public is advised not to panic… Community members are encouraged to report suspicious individuals and activities to the nearest police station,” Cruz said. (John Roson)

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Police scour the RTMI bus that was bombed in Maramag, Bukidnon, on Tuesday. (police photo)

Police scour the RTMI bus that was bombed in Maramag, Bukidnon, on Tuesday. (police photo)

Authorities are looking at terrorism and extortion as possible motives in the bus bombing that left 10 people dead and 42 others injured in Maramag, Bukidnon, on Tuesday, security officials said Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Aurelio Baladad, chief of the Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command, said investigation showed that the bomb had the “signature,” or make, similar to those assembled by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

“‘Yung lumitaw, ‘yun na nga, ang signature ng bomb is BIFF,” Baladad told reporters by phone.

Police mark the spot at the overhead baggage carrier where the bomb is believed to have been planted. (police photo)

Police mark the spot at the overhead baggage carrier where the bomb is believed to have been planted. (police photo)

Another military official, who requested anonymity, said the make of the bomb – an 81-millimeter mortar ammunition detonated with a cellphone – points to the group of one Dawtin Gendang of the BIFF.

Gendang and new “graduates” of the BIFF appeared to have carried out the attack on the Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI) bus as “test mission,” the official told reporters.

Gendang was previously identified as a suspect in the bombing of another RTMI bus that injured four people last November 6, Inspector Jiselle Longakit, Bukidnon provincial police spokesperson, said.

The bus door after the blast. (Army photo)

The bus door after the blast. (Army photo)

The BIFF, according to the military, has links with bomb expert Abdul Basit Usman who is connected with the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and is wanted by both the Philippines and United States.

The group has also recently expressed support to the Middle East-based jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Tuesday’s explosion occurred inside an RTMI bus around 5:40 p.m. while it was passing through Maramag, on the way to Cagayan de Oro City.

Police said on Tuesday that the bus came from Wao, Lanao del Sur, but stated on Wednesday that it came from Banisilan, North Cotabato.

The blast happened in front of the main gate of the Central Mindanao University (CMU), shortly after the bus picked up passengers at a nearby bus stop.

The blast killed Kim Valiente, 17; Anita Santillan, 54; Marielle Achacoso, 17; Niezel Dee Gonzaga, 22; Catherine Villahermosa, Johnrey Valdesco, John Bernard Cuhanap, Jonathan Balida, Michael Buctos, and a still unidentified person. Some of them are students of CMU.

Forty-two other persons, some of whom are also CMU students, were hurt and taken to different hospitals.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, in a statement, called the bombing a “barbaric” act and called on people to help authorities identify the attackers.

“We condole with the families of the victims of this tragic incident. The DND thru the AFP is in full support and cooperation with the PNP to get to the bottom of this barbaric act,” Gazmin said.

The defense chief declined to say what angles are being looked into, stating that the DND was still waiting for results of the investigation.

Longakit said investigators are initially looking at extortion as a possible motive but have not set aside terrorism.

“We are still coordinating with the bus company on that (extortion angle),” she said, adding that terrorism has “not yet” been ruled out.

A statement released later by the provincial police said the management of RTMI “refused to give extortion fee,” but did not point to any group. (John Roson)

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At least six people were injured when a bomb exploded and hit two passenger buses in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, late Saturday afternoon, police and military officials said.

Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, Sultan Kudarat Provincial Police director, said the explosion occurred at the “roundball,” or rotunda, in Brgy. Kalawag 2, around 5:45 p.m.

The explosion hit a Husky bus (UWI-541) driven by Nelson Pallado and a Yellow Bus Line unit (MVV-325) driven by Robinson Salatutan, Balquin said in a text message.

The blast injured Salatutan and his 23-year-old conductor Emil Sangki, as well as passengers Hilmor Hapinat, 36; Jonathan Delfin, 23; Kevin Dolfo, 19; and Rachel Catequista, 27, Col. Prudencio Asto, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said in a separate message.

Initial investigation by the Army’s Explosives and Ordnance Disposal team indicated that the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device made of ammonium nitrate, fuel, and oil, and had nails for shrapnel, Asto said.

Flames engulfed the Husky bus, which was traveling from Cotabato City to Tacurong City, and had to be put out by firefighters, Balquin said. (John Roson)

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A barangay treasurer in San Francisco, Quezon, lost her legs while her live-in partner was also injured when a suspected grenade went off beside their bed, police reported Wednesday.

Miriam De Villa, 33, treasurer of Brgy. Poblacion, and Ernesto Genovaña, 31, were rushed by relatives to a nearby hospital and were later transferred to Lucena City, PO2 Bernard Buñag, investigator at the San Francisco Police, said.

De Villa’s legs were both mutilated while her live-in partner suffered injuries in both feet, Buñag said in his report.

According to Buñag, a certain Donna Rocas called police past 11 p.m. Monday to report the explosion in Purok 3, Brgy. Poblacion.

Members of the San Francisco Police went to the area and found De Villa and Genovaña already being transported by their relatives.

The victims were said to be sleeping when the explosion occurred, Buñag said.

Around 10 a.m. Tuesday, a safety pin believed to be that of the grenade was found at the headboard of the victims’ bed, he said.

Police have asked Anthony Ronnie Arbon, Lenelyn Lamo, and Nick Nabora to explain why the victims mentioned their names after the explosion.

Arbon and Lamo denied any knowledge of the incident while Nabora failed to appear at the police station, Buñag said.

Police are still conducting a follow-up investigation to identify those responsible for the blast. (John Roson)

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2 killed, 5 hurt in Maguindanao blasts

(Update) Two improvised explosive devices (IED) went off in Maguindanao on Monday morning, killing two people and injuring at least five others, police and military officials said.

A “cellphone-triggered” IED went off in Sitio Layning, Brgy. Salvo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, around 8:23 a.m., Senior Supt. Jaime Pido, Maguindanao Provincial Police director, said in a phone interview.

“Motorcycles usually pass by that area,” Pido said, adding the bomb was made of an 81-millimeter mortar ammunition and appeared “similar” to other IEDs that went off in the province in the past.

Minutes later, around 9 a.m., another bomb went off in the neighboring village of Brgy. Iginagampong, Datu Unsay, injuring six people, Pido said.

“Dalawa daw ‘yung namatay dun sa anim na wounded, yun ang sinabi sa akin ng chief of police ko dun sa Datu Unsay” Pido said when contacted Monday evening.

“Ayaw lang daw magbigay ng pangalan nung mga tao dun… pagkaputok, kinuha agad, dinala (‘yung mga bangkay),” he said.

The police official, however, confirmed that both fatalities were members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Col. Prudencio Asto, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said one Basit Abas alias Basco, a member of the BIFF, was hit by shrapnel on the face in the blast in Brgy. Salvo.

Abas, along with other BIFF members under Mohaiden Animbang alias Karialan were passing through the area on motorcycles when the bomb exploded.

Animbang and his men were on the way to attend a “kanduli” or thanksgiving event hosted by a certain Tong in Brgy. Iginagampong, Asto said.

The explosion prompted the BIFF members to fired their guns at different directions for two minutes before they resumed their travel, he said.

However, as the group was nearing the “kanduli” venue in Sitio Kalot, Brgy. Iginagampong, another IED made of an 81-millimeter mortar exploded.

Karialan and five followers of a certain Tambako were hit in the second explosion, Asto said.

Meanwhile, Pido said the thanksgiving event in Brgy. Iginagampong is different from another “kanduli” that Mayor Zahara Ampatuan of neighboring Shariff Aguak was set to hold in her town on Tuesday. (John Roson)

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(Update) Two improvised explosive devices (IED) went off in Maguindanao on Monday morning, injuring at least seven people, police and military officials said.

A “cellphone-triggered” IED went off in Sitio Layning, Brgy. Salvo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, around 8:23 a.m., Senior Supt. Jaime Pido, Maguindanao Provincial Police director, said in a phone interview.

“Motorcycles usually pass by that area,” Pido said, adding the bomb was made of an 81-millimeter mortar ammunition and appeared “similar” to other IEDs that went off in the province in the past.

Minutes later, around 9 a.m., another bomb went off in the neighboring village of Brgy. Iginagampong, Datu Unsay, injuring six people, Pido said.

Col. Prudencio Asto, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said one Basit Abas alias Basco, a member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), was hit by shrapnel on the face in the blast in Brgy. Salvo.

Abas, along with other BIFF members under Mohaiden Animbang alias commander Karialan were passing through the area on motorcycles when the bomb exploded.

Animbang and his men were on the way to attend a “kanduli” or thanksgiving event hosted by a certain Tong in Brgy. Iginagampong, Asto said.

The explosion prompted the BIFF members to fired their guns at different directions for two minutes before they resumed their travel, he said.

However, as the group was nearing the “kanduli” venue in Sitio Kalot, Brgy. Iginagampong, another IED made of an 81-millimeter mortar exploded.

Karialan and five followers of a certain Tambako were hurt in the second explosion, Asto said.

Meanwhile, Pido said the thanksgiving event in Brgy. Iginagampong is different from another “kanduli” that Mayor Zahara Ampatuan of neighboring Shariff Aguak was set to hold in her town on Tuesday. (John Roson)

– end –