GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 10 July) – Three people, including a four-year-old girl, were killed while three others were seriously injured after a rifle grenade accidentally exploded Wednesday morning in a coastal village in Maasim town in Sarangani Province.
Insp. Rodel Javison, Maasim municipal police station chief, said Thursday a family was having breakfast around 7 a.m. at their house in Barangay Lumasal in Maasim when a 40mm rifle grenade suddenly exploded.
He said the explosive reportedly went off after falling from the pocket of family patriarch Rolando Tamuay.
Javison said the 32-year-old Tamuay and his elder sister Jenny Dula, 36, died on the spot while his daughter Jinky expired at the city hospital here at around 6 p.m. due to multiple shrapnel wounds.
He said Tamuay’s wife Laila, who is three months pregnant, and relatives Dinah Abey, 32, and Maming Cabelol, 55, sustained various injuries and are being treated at the city hospital.
Based on their initial investigation, Javison said Tamuay was cleaning a portion of his farm when he found the live 40mm rifle grenade on Tuesday.
The victim then cleaned the rifle grenade and initially planned to sell it to a local junk shop, thinking that it has some value.
“But while they were having breakfast, it fell from his pocket and hit something hard, triggering the explosion,” Javison said in a radio interview.
He said they are currently digging deeper into the incident, specifically how the explosive reached the victim’s farm and its possible owner.
The hinterlands of Maasim is a known entry and escape route of armed groups, among them the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), operating in the province and nearby areas in the past several years.
The BIFF had staged several attacks in the area in the last three years and used upland villages, including parts of Lumasal, as escape route.