Boy killed, 41 injured in grenade blast in S. Kudarat during fiesta

ESPERANZA, Sultan Kudarat (MindaNews / 22 Feb) – A six-year-old boy was killed while 41 others were wounded when a grenade exploded in a local peryahan (fair) beside a carnival during a patronal fiesta celebration Sunday evening.

Col. Lito Sobejana, commanding officer of Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade, said the incident took place around 8:15 p.m. at Barangay Poblacion where a carnival near the town hall was established.

He said two grenades were lobbed at a populated part of the fair. One exploded but the other one did not even though its pin was already removed. Sobejana said the Army’s explosives team has attended to the unexploded grenade.

Six-year-old Elton John Antonio, who was reportedly hit in the head by a shrapnel while eating balut, was the sole fatality.

Chief Insp. Brian Bernardino Esperanza, municipal police chief, said 41 people were hurt. Fourteen of them are still recuperating in different hospitals. One, he said, is in critical condition.

Bernardino said two suspects from Maguindanao are now in custody after a witness identified them. A cartographic sketch of the third suspect, he said, was already released.

Bernardino said they are looking at the possibility of a grudge between the suspects and the owner of the fair operator. Another possibility, he said, is that it could be a “diversionary tactic” of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freed Fighters.

Mayor Helen Latog has called for an emergency meeting with her security and disaster teams this morning.