5 hurt in Cotabato bomb blast PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 August 2014 16:22

Security forces were beefed on Wednesday in Cotabato City, the seat of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), following a bomb attack that wounded a soldier and four other persons Tuesday night.

Senior Superintendent Rolen Balquin, Cotabato City police chief, said additional police forces backed up by army soldiers were deployed in the city’s commercial district and in vital government installations to prevent similar terror attacks suspected to have been carried out by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which, like the al-Quaeda linked Abu Sayyaf,  espouses an independent Islamic state in the Philippine south.

Balquin said an improvised explosive device went off around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday along Makakua St. wounding an army Special Forces soldier and four civilians.

The bomb was apparently intended for a roving Special Forces Army soldier who were security patrol.

Boy Razalan of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRMMC) said the victims were taken to the Cotabato City Regional and Medical Center hospital.

One of the male victims near the explosion collapsed due to the strong impact, he said. The victim’s name was not immediately made available.

The four others who sustained minor injuries are: Pvt. Dondon Asuncion Bambao, 23, of the 5th Special Forces, who hails from Pinmilapin, Sison, Pangasinan; fruit vendor Baingan Aliuden Ango, 45, of Campo Muslim and Mambai ulandigan Datumanong, 33, of Lugay-Lugay both in Cotabato City; and corn vendor Abdulrakman Martin Utto, 22, of Bulalo, Sutltan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

Pvt. Loret Mangsibang, a colleague of Bambao, said the bomb exploded as the driver of the Wrangler type jeepney had just left the area.

While Zamboanga City is under threat from a Moro National Liberation Front faction that laid siege to the city on September 9, 2013 killing more than 300, Cotabato City is facing similar security problem from the BIFF, a breakaway group of the the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Philippines’ once largest Muslim rebel group that  signed the “Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro” peace deal with the government March 27.

Balquin revealed they have been monitoring security threats in the city since last week but declined to give details or name the threat groups.

BIFF and Abu Sayyaf, another militant Muslim group, have pledged support to the Islamic State (IS), a militant group formerly known as ISIS that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq,

The IS links, however, have yet to be verified by the Philippines military.

Cotabato City is the capital of Maguindano province, a bastion of the MILF.