2 men in tricycle not suspects in Tacurong blast, cops say
TACURONG CITY — Police on Tuesday said the two passengers of a tricycle here, where a bomb went off on New Year’s Eve, had not been tagged as suspects in the blast as authorities continue their investigation.
Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, Sultan Kudarat provincial police director, said police had yet to ascertain if Aladin Laguiab, a resident of Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao province, and the other passenger, Ali Suharto, carried the improvised explosive device (IED).
Supiter, however, said the possible involvement of Laguiab and Suharto in the blast was among the information being checked by the police.
Laguiab died in the blast along with tricycle driver Dominador Datahan. Suharto and 16 people, who were by the roadside in Barangay Buenaflor at the time of the explosion, were wounded.
Investigators, Supiter said, concluded that the bomb was inside the tricycle but it was not clear whether it was in the possession of either of the passengers.
“It could be a case of premature explosion of an IED,” he said.
Supiter said Suharto and six injured victims remained in the hospital on Tuesday while the rest had been sent home after treatment for shrapnel wounds.
Datahan was driving Laguiab and Suharto to Isulan town, about 11 kilometers from here, when the explosion ripped through the tricycle at 11:05 p.m.
The 16 people injured were outside a bar and were preparing for the New Year’s Eve revelry.
Supiter said it was still unclear if the bomb was intended for a target in this city or other areas in Sultan Kudarat.
But the explosion happened as members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were setting off bombs against soldiers and policemen in Maguindanao, some 40 km away.
The latest attack by BIFF forces there took place on Sunday and Monday, during which a police officer was killed and seven others—five policemen and two soldiers—were wounded. —EDWIN FERNANDEZ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.