At least 3 injured as bomb explodes in front of Midsayap church

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 24 December) —  At least three persons, one of them a police officer, were injured when a bomb exploded  in front of  the main entrance of a Catholic church in Midsayap town, North Cotabato at around 9:30 p.m. while the Christmas mass was ongoing.

Fr. Jay Virador, who was celebrating the mass said the bomb exploded some 30 meters from the main entrance of the jampacked Sto. Nino Church while parishioners were queuing to receive communion

He said the people panicked and scampered for safety.

Tension arose again when one of the parishioners shouted upon seeing a bag, thinking it may have been a bomb.  The bag was apparently left behind by those who scampered for safety.

Saturday’s bombing in front of a Catholic church is the second in a month in the region – the first was on November 27, on the first Sunday of Advent. Two persons were injured when a bomb exploded in front of the gate of the Our Lady of Hope Church in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat.

In Midsayap, initial reports reaching the Police Regional Office here said “an explosion occurred in front of Sto. Nino Parish wherein PNP patrol care with plate number SKA 130 was hit by unknown explosive, wounding three persons including SPO4 Johnny Caballero.”

A police officer said the perpetrators may have failed to make it closer to their target and decided to throw the explosive towards a police patrol car guarding the church.

Superintendent Bernard Tayong, chief of Midsayap town police said bomb experts are now in the area conducting post blast investigation.  No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)