Security tightened in Shariff Aguak due to Wednesday's blast; no one injured

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/23 December) —  Security has been tightened in Shariff Aguak town following the explosion of an improvised bomb Wednesday morning inside a culvert at the front gate of an employee of the local civil registrar. No one was hurt by the explosion but the gate was totally damaged.

The improvised explosive device (IED) went off at around 10:30 a.m. at the gate of Palapas Baludo in Poblacion Mother.

Lt. Col. Prudencio Asto, chief of information of the 6th Kampilan Division, said the IED is made up of 105-mm mortar connected to a cell phone as a detonating device,  and  a 9-volt battery.

Asto said the motive and identity of the suspects have yet to be ascertained. “We are still establishing if the target of this bombing was someone who stays in that house or whoever passes by.”

On November 22, a day before the commemoration of  the first anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre, another IED also went off in the same area, hurting two persons.

In a separate incident, two teams of the Army’s Special Forces clashed with around 20 fully- armed men believed to be members of  a kidnap-for-ransom gang operating in Maguindanao.

According to the reports from 6th Division, scout boats of the Special Forces were conducting river patrol in Barangay Katidtuan in Mother Kabuntalan on Wednesday morning when ambushed by lawless men believed led by Kumander Moda and Norhan.

A firefight ensued for almost 20 minutes but the attackers  managed to escape amid the Army’s artillery fire.

No one was reported hurt from both sides.

Earlier this year, intense security measures were implemented by the military and police after the Pentagon kidnap-for-ransom gang made its presence felt again in Southwestern Mindanao.

The latest victim was an eight-year old girl snatched last week in front of their house in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato as her father was about to bring her to a Christmas party in school.

Unfortunately, the girl’s father was shot dead by the assailants. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)