Army defuses bomb at capitol grounds in Maguindanao

BULUAN, Maguindanao (MindaNews/12 February) – Army soldiers defused Friday a powerful improvised bomb planted in the provincial capitol grounds in this town in the midst of a festival, the military said.

Colonel Ricky Bunayog, 33rd Infantry Battalion commander, said the bomb fashioned from an 81mm mortar with an alarm clock as trigger mechanism was placed inside a black backpack and left in front of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office in Poblacion, Buluan.

A bystander found the explosive at about 8 a.m. Friday.

Bunayog said the attempt was meant to disrupt the 5th Sagayan Festival in celebration of Maguindanao’s foundation anniversary.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the bombing attempt.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu condemned the aborted bombing and called on everyone to stay vigilant.

“Sagayan Festival is promoting peace. We want people to embrace this culture in our hearts and minds whatever your religious or cultural affiliation, but this one really saddens us,” he said.

“Enough of this atrocities, people had suffered enough from this violence,” said provincial board member Datu Russman Sinsuat Jr. who witnessed the celebration.

Sinsuat is a survivor of car bombing in Tacurong City in 2011 which targeted their convoy.

He lost his father who was then a board member and one of his legs was maimed in the explosion. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)