Army eyes BIFF in Maguindanao sports event blast that killed a spectator
DAVAO CITY — The military is looking at pro-Islamic State militants to blame for the blast that killed a spectator and hurt 7 others during a volleyball game in Datu Piang, Maguindanao Saturday afternoon.
Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division told the Inquirer by phone that members of the LGBT community were playing volleyball when a homemade bomb exploded in their midst around 3:39 p.m.at the municipal covered court near the center of Datu Piang town.
He said the blast left one spectator dead and wounded seven others.
According to investigators, the grenade was lobbed in the middle of the crowd while the volleyball game was in progress.
Baldomar said the attack could be a diversionary tactic of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) because of the government’s ongoing operation against them.
“We have recovered fragments of the bombs and we suspect it was carried out by the BIFF,” Badomar said.
In December last year, BIFF gunmen torched a police car in Datu Piang, causing panic among residents. The militants were thwarted after a brief exchange of gunfire with the police.
The BIFF spokesman, Abu Jihad, said the group attacked police vehicles in Datu Piang because it believed police were involved in illegal activities in the town.
Authorities have blamed the BIFF, which splintered from the MILF and declared support for the IS, for the series of attacks in the past in the region.
In January, BIFF militants carried out two roadside bombings in the south that killed three and injured scores of people. In 2019, the group carried out a series of bomb attacks in the south targeting a market and a restaurant that injured more than two dozen people.
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