25 hurt in GenSan blasts

At least 22 persons were injured when a grenade exploded at the General Santos City Oval Plaza 9:10 p.m. on New Year's Eve where revelers were promenading and last minute shoppers were buying pyrotechnics.

Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr. said it was unfortunate the incident happened on New Year's Eve.

He said that as early as a week before the explosions, they already received intelligence reports that several groups were planning to sow terror in the city.

That explained, he said, the presence of policemen at the Oval Plaza.

Among those wounded in the grenade explosion were P01 Janver Pales and P01 Romelyn Luminquit, who were on foot patrol in the vicinity of the explosion.

Sr. Supt. Robert Po, city police director, said elements of the PNP's explosive and ordnance recovered the lever and safety pin of the grenade near the blast site.

Both the city mayor and the police declined to name any suspect saying police investigators are still determining if a similar grenade explosion the night before at a police box in barangay Lagao is related to the Oval Plaza attack.

A policeman manning the outpost and his unidentified companion, including a waiter of a resto bar across the street, were also wounded in the grenade explosion.

Witnesses said the two motorcycle-riding suspects in tandem hurled a grenade around 7:40 p.m Tuesday.

Earlier that day, a suspected bomber was killed in Esperenza town of Sultan Kudarat when the improvised explosive device he was carrying exploded inside a tricycle he was riding.

Security forces in the region have been placed on heightened alert following intelligence reports that renegade members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are planning to launch coordinated attacks in several provinces in Mindanao.

The, MILF, however denied it was planning to launch bombing attacks in Mindanao and instead insinuated that the military is behind these "terror activities" to justify its continued military operations against the Moro rebel group. (Edwin G. Espejo / MindaNews contributor)