Pregnant woman slain as bomb goes off in Maguindanao town
KORONADAL CITY –– A 35-year-old pregnant woman died as a bomb went off Tuesday night, Dec. 15, in Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao, a military official said.
Lieutenant Colonel Anhouvic Atilano, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, told the Inquirer by phone Wednesday that the incident happened around 10:30 p.m. in the village of Pusao.
At about the same time, the Army was also unleashing howitzer fires into the positions of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which have been harassing military facilities and installations at night.
But Atilano denied it was their bombs that hit the victim, identified as Arabea Dumana, who died of severe shrapnel wounds.
“After we ended our fire mission, there was an explosion in Pusao, (so) it was the BIFF’s (improvised) bomb that hit and killed the pregnant woman,” he said.
Atilano admitted that the Army fired eight rounds of howitzers towards some 20 heavily armed BIFF gunmen in the village of Dabinayan in nearby Datu Salibo town, which is more than a kilometer away from Dumana’s house.
“Local officials (also) checked this morning the site and it doesn’t look like an explosion from a 105mm howitzer,” Atilano said.
Atilano said those responsible were the same group that attacked the town of Datu Piang earlier this month where they burned a police car.
“These things are happening because the BIFF keep on harassing our detachment at night,” he said.
The incident occurred hours after Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, who led the turnover ceremony of Cotabato City’s supervision to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, urged the BIFF to stop mounting atrocities and instead help in working for development in the troubled region.
The BIFF is composed of fighters who split from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2010.
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