COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 19 September) — A member of the 5th Marine Company of the Philippine Marine Battalion Team-5 was killed while four others were injured after an improvised bomb exploded on the roadside and hit their KM-3 truck in Datu Hoffer, Maguindanao, a few meters from the provincial hospital shortly before 8 p.m. Friday.
Outgoing Maguindanao Provincial Police Director Col. Arnold Santiago said the Marines had just come out of the mountainous part of Barangay Salman in Ampatuan, Maguindanao when an improvised explosive device believed to have been fashioned from an 81mm mortar went-off on the roadside of Barangay Limpongo in Datu Hoffer town.
The impact of the explosion killed a Private surnamed Angot and injured two sergeants and two privates first class.
The Marine troopers were among those deployed in the preemptive military operation of the Joint Task Force Central in Maguindanao against the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Air assaults and ground offensives were conducted by the Joint-Task Force Central since early Friday morning.
The blast site is a few meters away from the provincial hospital of Maguindanao and Camp Akilan, the provincial police headquarters in Shariff Aguak town where an explosion also happened last month that hit a convoy of police personnel.
Lt. Col. Anhouvic Atillano, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division, the bombing may hae been a “diversionary tactic” of the BIFF to divert the military’s attention from the still ongoing military operations against them. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)