Who’s behind the Cotabato bombings?
MANILA, Philippines — Four people were killed and 41 were injured from a series of explosions in a span of a week in Cotabato. Who is behind these bombings?
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, has been linked to the recent attacks. The MILF has already signed a peace deal with the Philippine government.
“It’s possible that it’s BIFF, but it’s one of the possibilities kasi hindi pa tapos ang ating investigation. I am on my way to North Cotabato to meet yung ating forces dun to find out kung ano talaga yung iba pang data at saka information na maga-gather dun sa area,” Army’s 6th Infantry Division chief Major General Edmundo Pangilinan told media on Monday.
“I’ll be meeting with the governor para makagawa ng magandang actions, magplano nang mabuti; the things that we need to pre-empt any future incidents, at maiwasan ang ganitong incidents,” he added.
On Sunday night, an improvised explosive device that went off near the town plaza in Mlang killed three people and injured 22.
Initial reports said an 81mm mortar was used.
On Thursday, Nov. 20, two female students were injured in Cotabato City around 6 p.m. An unidentified man supposedly hurled the explosive as witnessed by soldiers onboard a military truck that passed by.
A 60mm mortar was used based on reports.
Last Nov. 16, one female student was killed and 17, mostly students, were injured in Kabacan town near a public school. A 60mm mortar was said to be used.
Two more IEDs were found near the blast site but were detonated.
A P200,000 reward has been offered to any information leading to the arrest of the people involved in the Nov. 16 blast.
The BIFF, which has been blamed for the bombings and attacks in Central Mindanao, denied involvement in the Nov. 16 incident, according to an Inquirer report published on Nov. 18.
The BIFF, through spokesman Abu Misry Mama, said in the report that they “don’t attack civilians, only the military” and they are also conducting their own investigation.
Pangilinan said they have redeployed and realigned their forces to cover the areas affected.
“Yun pa lang ang magagawa natin sa ngayon pending yung actual findings on what really happened,” he said.
“Yung tropa naman natin is on the alert… Syempre, we just cannot cover the whole ground kaya in my announcements pinasabi ko dun sa aking spokesman to announce na yung mga tao mismo sa ating community magtulung-tulong. This is not a job of the military and police alone but also this is everyone’s concern,” Pangilinan said.
“I urge them to be vigilant and be observant at kung may nakikita silang mga unusual [things] then report to us so we can act accordingly,” he added.
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