Cop injured in Zamboanga City blast stable; K-9 lauded for quickly detecting bomb
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Diego, a three-year-old Belgian Malinois, saved many lives when he quickly detected a bomb on Sunday night.
Senior Inspector Ryean Lhoyd Bato, chief of the Zamboanga City Police Bomb Squad Unit, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, that “if not for Diego’s early detection of the bomb, we would have a paralyzed bomb squad team.”
The team was responding to a call about a blast inside a videoke bar on Tomas Claudio Street, when Diego detected another bomb.
“Diego immediately detected the second bomb on the ground floor. PO2 Manuel Franklin Ined (Diego’s handler) was about to conduct a secondary confirmatory inspection when it suddenly went off,” Bato said.
The impact brought Ined down, his face sustaining injuries. Diego, on the other hand, was able to run for about half a kilometer away from the blast scene. The dog suffered small minor burns in right part of its snout.
Ined was brought to the Brent hospital, some 500 meters away from the blast site. Diego, who was lost initially, was found walking along the Zamboanga East Central School, also about 500 meters away from the blast site.
Bato said Diego seemed to be on his way home to Camp Batalla, which was around 200 meters from the school.
Dr. Mario Arriola, the city veterinarian, said Diego did not sustain any life-threatening injuries.
“But he will remain under observation by the assistant handler. We will run an examination tomorrow (Tuesday),” Arriola said on Monday.
Diego’s ears could have also suffered from the blast as his new handlers had to shout his name to get his attention.
Bato said Diego would be allowed to rest for “three weeks to a month”
“We hope he can recover soon,” he said.
Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar, in a news conference Monday afternoon, commended Ined and Diego “for their act of heroism.”
Salazar said Ined was already in stable condition following surgical operation on Sunday night.
Salazar also announced the P50,000 reward for anyone who could provide information that would lead to the arrest of those who planted the bombs.
Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, the city police chief, said it was too early to blame the attack on the Abu Sayyaf.
“There are many motives to look at. It could be diversionary action (from the military operation against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan and Sulu). It could also be extortion,” Casimiro said.
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