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Cops nab suspect in Sultan Kudarat carnival blast that killed child, hurt 30

/ 10:08 PM February 22, 2016

ESPERANZA, Sultan Kudarat — Police authorities said on Monday, they have arrested one of the three men who lobbed hand grenades at a carnival here on Sunday night – which left a six-year-old child dead and wounded more than 30 others.

Chief Insp. Bryan Bernardino, Esperanza town police chief, did not identify the suspect who was still undergoing tactical interrogation, as of this posting.

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Bernardino said the police wanted the arrested man to identify his two other companions and their motive in attacking the carnival.

“We are also tracking his companions based on descriptions provided by witnesses,” he said.

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Bernardino said the arrested suspect was seen speeding away from the site after the 8:20 p.m. blasts with the two other men on a motorcycle.

He said the suspect – for still unknown reasons – got off the motorcycle not far from the carnival and attempted to return to the blast site. Some witnesses, he said, recognized the man as among the attackers and alerted the police about his presence at the blast site.

“It was an act of terrorism.  We do not know the real motive yet and what group the perpetrators belong to, we are digging deeper into this case,” Bernardino said.

Mayor Helen Latog said she still could not understand why the carnival – which was full of civilians – was attacked.

“We have no idea yet who did this,” she said. “We have no idea why the peryahan was attacked,” Latog said in a phone interview.

Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the military has been assisting the police in locating the other perpetrators.

He acknowledged that the grenade attacks came just a few days after the military warned of diversionary tactics by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

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But Bernardino said the police were still determining if the Esperanza carnival bombing was related to the Maguindanao Army-BIFF skirmishes. Esperanza is adjacent to Maguindanao.

But Abu Misri Mama, the BIFF spokesperson, said his group had no hand in the Esperanza bombing.

“We don’t attack civilians.  Only the military is our target,” he said.  SFM

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TAGS: 6th Infantry Division, Acts of terror, arrest, Bombing, Bryan Bernardino, Crime, crime suspect, Edmundo Pangilinan, Esperanza municipal police, Esperanza municipality, grenade attack, Grenade blast, grenade explosion, grenade throwing, Helen Latog, Justice, law, law enforcement, Local authorities, Local Governments, mayor, news, Philippine Army, Police, police investigation, police operation, Regions, Sultan Kudarat, Terrorism, village carnival, village feast
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