At least 7 hurt in Isulan IED explosion
ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat, Philippines – The roadside bombing on Saturday in front of the public market here left at least seven persons injured, police said.
Lt. Colonel Joven Bagaybay, Isulan police director (not Lt. Colonel Junie Buenacosa as earlier reported), said the improvised explosive device (IED) was placed in front of a row of motorcycles for hire. The IED went off at around 7 a.m. police said.
Injured and rushed to the Sultan Kudarat provincial hospital were Nino Virgo, 28; Jaren Amigo, 24; Jay Carnaso, 30; off-duty militiaman Jomar Aquino, 31; Nasim Gulano, 24, all of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, and Gerald Cartagena, 28, of Surallah, South Cotabato.
Another victim, Isulan Traffic Enforcer Terencio Cagadas, was rushed to Holy Nazarene Hospital.
“Prior to the bombing, text messages have been circulating about an impending bomb attack,” Bagaybay said in a radio interview.
“Possible motive is extortion but we are not discounting possible involvement of extremists. We are still investigating,” he added.
Bagaybay however ruled out the possibility that the terrorist Abu Sayyaf is behind the blast.
According to Bagaygay, he received information about a bombing being planned in Isulan after assuming the post of police chief last May.
Bagaygay said they are looking into the angle that a terror group involved in alleged extortion was behind the blast.
An Army intelligence officer said the IED has the signature of a Moro extremist group that also exploded similar bombs here in the past.
The intelligence officer added that based on CCTV (closed circuit television security camera) footage of various business establishments in front and beside the public market, the IED was believed to have been left by unidentified suspect the night before or early Saturday morning.
Last year, Isulan, capital of Sultan Kudarat province, was hit by two successive bombings that left five people dead and 45 others hurt.
In April this year, another IED went off in front of a chicken barbecue stall, also in the same stretch of the national highway, leaving 18 persons injured.
Police and military authorities have blamed the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters for these previous attacks.
Isulan is the provincial capital of Sultan Kudarat. /muf (with Williamor Magbanua, Inquirer Mindanao)
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