GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 June) – Police authorities in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao tightened security in various key areas in the region following the recovery of two improvised bombs at a police checkpoint in Sultan Kudarat province Monday morning.
Chief Supt. Benjardi Mantele, Region 12 police director, said the explosives were intercepted aboard a passenger van at around 10am by elements of the Sultan Kudarat police and regional police’s public safety unit near a bridge in Crossing Dukay, Esperanza town in Sultan Kudarat.
He said the police operatives, who were observing full alert status as a result of the earlier explosion in Kidapawan City, found the improvised bombs hidden inside a sack during a security inspection of a Toyota Hi-Ace passenger van with license plate MUV 321.
“The van was from Cotabato City and was en route to cities of Tacurong and Koronadal,” Mantele told radio station Bombo Radyo in Koronadal City.
The police official said the explosives, which were fashioned from live 81mm and 60mm mortar shells, were immediately brought to this city for further evaluation by the regional police’s explosives ordnance disposal unit and the crime laboratory.
Mantele said the recovered explosives could be part of an alleged plot by a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to sow terror in several parts of the region in the wake of the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the MILF in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
He said they believe they were also linked to the explosion in front of the Commission on Audit building in Amas, Kidapawan City at around 8am Monday.
“Our investigators are currently looking into the motive and the identity of those behind the attack and we expect some breakthrough regarding this case soon,” the police official said.
The bomb used in the Kidapawan blast was reportedly made of 60mm mortar shell with an attached mobile phone serving as triggering device, he said.
Mantele said they have intensified their security operations in the region to avert other possible movements by those behind the Kidapawan attack and the recovered bombs.
He added they specifically strengthened police visibility along the national highways, public places and other vital government installations as well as their intelligence monitoring in various parts of the region. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)