Girl killed in grenade blast near Ampatuan house in Maguindanao
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – A nine-year old girl was killed while her parents and siblings were hurt in one of the two grenade attacks Saturday night in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao.
Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said the explosions occurred in one of the towns considered by the Commission on Elections as possible “area of concern” in Monday’s polls.
Citing the report from the Army stationed in Shariff Aguak, Petinglay identified the fatality as Puti Mandigan who died on the spot. Injured were her father Wahid, 38, mother Bae, 37, a brother, Arabai, 7, and an unidentified sibling.
Petinglay said police and military investigators could not ascertain if the twin blasts were related to the miting de avance of local candidates in Shariff Aguak.
The first blast occurred at about 7:30 p.m. in a vacant lot not far from the mansion of former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan. A political event was happening about 500 meters away at the town market.
The second explosion came shortly after midnight when residents were asleep and political rallies were over.
Petinglay said the victims were asleep inside their house a few meters from the Ampatuan home when the explosion occurred.
Neighbors rushed the victims to the Maguindanao provincial hospital.
Police investigators found shrapnel for M-203 and M-79 grenades.
“We are helping the local police investigate. We cannot say at this time if it was election-related,” Petinglay told the Inquirer.
Lawless elements, outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and private armed groups operate in the area.
Sajid Ampatuan, a son of former-Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., is running for mayor of Shariff Aguak against another relative.
Sajid is out on bail for his alleged role in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre./rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.