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MILF probes bomb attacks, threats in Central Mindanao

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COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front said it was conducting its own investigation on recent terror threats using explosives in Central Mindanao.

“We will have it investigated because up to now, no group has claimed responsibility for these bombings,” said MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim.

Welcoming on Saturday a large crowd composed mostly of public school teachers and students led by Maguindanao Schools Superintendent Meriam Kawit at the MILF main stronghold at the boundary of Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao, Murad said the frequent bomb blasts and discoveries of improvised explosives “are not good developments, happening at a time when we are negotiating for a durable peace settlement with the government.”

Police and military authorities reported bomb explosions and discovery of improvised explosive devices in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and North Cotabato that began here on Dec. 19.

On Saturday, three blasts from an M79 grenade launcher rocked Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao.

“There were no casualties and damage to properties as it hit vacant lots,” said Col. Edgar Gonzales, commander of the Army’s First Mechanized Infantry Brigade, based in Shariff Aguak.

He said the grenade attack and the planting of two IEDs, which were found near the town hall and disposed of by local authorities, were being blamed on an extortion group.

Gonzales, however, refused to name the suspects pending filing of charges.

Murad said the rash of violence has been causing public apprehension and speculation. “This is not good and we want this investigated.”

“The people of Mindanao have been yearning for peace and there seems to be some, with vested interest, out to spoil the common objective,” he added.

On Dec. 19, a commuter van was ambushed here by heavily armed men killing three and wounding several others, including Rosary Heights-5 Barangay Chair Amil Sula, who, according to lawmen, could be the main target in the attack. Most of the passengers were Sula family members and relatives.

Hours later on that same day, a bomb exploded and an 81mm mortar was found near a police precinct along Sinsuat Ave. A village councilman was slightly injured in that attack.

A similar bomb attack happened on Dec. 29 in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, partly ripping off two passenger buses.

On Sunday, two IEDs from 60mm mortars were recovered near the Kidapawan City police station.


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Tags: Acts of terror , Bomb attacks , Central Mindanao , Moro Islamic Liberation Front , Murad Ebrahim , News , peace process , Regions




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