Soldiers were the targets in Cotabato bombing – Army

By: Froilan Gallardo - CDN Digital | December 22,2019 - 10:19 PM

A medical personnel attends to one of the victims of the explosion in Libungan town of North Cotabato on Dec. 22, 2019.| Photo courtesy of Shirlyn Macasarte Villanueva

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — The bombers responsible for the series of explosions in Cotabato City on Sunday, December 22, targeted soldiers not churchgoers coming out of the Immaculate Conception Church.

Nine soldiers and eleven civilians were hurt when a series of explosions rocked Cotabato City and neighboring Libungan town Sunday night.

Major Homer Estolas, spokesperson of the Army 6th Infantry Division, said the bombers who were riding on a motorcycle fired first before lobbing a grenade at the soldiers who were disembarking from a military truck in Cotabato City.

Estolas said nine soldiers were wounded by the explosion and gunfire fired by the suspects. Seven or more civilians were also hurt by the blast, he added.

“It was clear that the suspects targeted the soldiers first. The civilians were hurt because they were there waiting for their rides home,” Estolas said.

Estolas said the attack occurred in front of the gate of the religious-run DxMS radio station in Sinsuat Avenue. He said many civilians would have been hurt if the attackers have chosen to attack the Immaculate Conception Church since a Mass have just ended at 6 p.m.

Estolas said Army ordnance experts diffused a second improvised explosive devise (IED) found a few hundred meters from the location of the blast.

In nearby Libungan town, North Cotabato, Estolas said five persons were hurt when another IED exploded in the town’s poblacion.

He said an IED fashioned from a 60-mm mortar exploded in front of Remarata Store near the town plaza.

A few minutes later Estolas said another IED exploded some 15 meters away from the first explosion but did not hurt anyone because authorities have already cordoned the area. Traffic between Cotabato and Davao City as army soldiers and police stopped vehicles to check for explosives. The military blamed the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) for the series of attacks on Sunday night. /elb

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