GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 18 Oct) – An improvised bomb exploded Thursday morning in front of a government-owned bank at a commercial section of Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat province, damaging some nearby structures but no casualties were reported.
Senior Supt. Rolly Balquin, Sultan Kudarat police director, said the bomb exploded around 7:15 a.m. several meters away from the façade of the Land Bank of the Philippines branch located along the national highway in the Poblacion area.
He said no one was reported hurt as a result of the blast but some structures within the surroundings of the site were affected.
“We’re still establishing the extent of the damage created by the explosion,” Balquin said in a radio interview.
Citing a report from the Tacurong City police station, he said the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED).
He said the Sultan Kudarat police’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and scene of the crime operation (Soco) teams were still determining the explosive’s components.
Balquin said they could yet establish the motive and possible suspects of the explosion but admitted that they had received intelligence reports two weeks ago of an alleged terror plot in the area by members of an armed group based in nearby Maguindanao province.
He was referring to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement and its armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which figured in clashes with government troops and bomb attacks in Maguindanao and North Cotabato several weeks ago.
“The report was that several IEDs would be planted and eventually set off in the city,” Balquin said.
But he said the intelligence report did not detail the number of explosives that would be planted or where and when they would be set off.
“We’ve intensified our security and intelligence operations in the province and all our units are doubling their vigilance right now to avert these plots,” Balquin added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)