Foiled bombing: Military in heightened alert in North Cotabato

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foiled bombing
DETONATED. Bomb experts in Midsayap town deactivated an improvised bomb, and safely dismantled its components before it could harm residents. (Photo courtesy of Midsayap MPS)

by SONY SUDARIA & OSCAR LEDESMA, MDNN News Bureau

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato – A foiled bombing attempt Thursday evening has forced the military here to impose a heightened alert level.

The military has also set up additional checkpoints with plain clothes police personnel around town, and in the vicinity as force multipliers.

Lt. Colonel Rolly Oranza, police chief of Midsayap municipality told newsmen that an improvised explosive device was used by the suspects but fortunately, it did not explode, and it was safely deactivated by the joint army and police disposal units, around 7:00 pm.

“It was a powerful IED. Clearly, it was meant to harm and kill people,” Oranza  told reporters in an interview here Friday morning.

Initial investigation conducted by police probers disclosed that the two suspects onboard a motorbike alighted along Roosevelt Street in Barangay Poblacion 3, on the road in between the Bureau of Fire Protection building and the police office.  

The investigators were able to get images from a closed-circuit security camera, showingthe the suspects placed a pink bag, which allegedly near the garbage bin along the sidewalk and immediately disappeared from the scene.  

The fire officers who noticed the two immediately alerted the bomb experts and the police.

The army official said “members of the police and military explosive ordnance unit are still trying to determine the components of the bomb as it is tightly wrapped in tape. It has black powder though and small batteries as part of the trigger mechanism.”

It can be recalled that the foiled bombing happened three days ago after three tricycle drivers were slain in Midsayap town.

The police are still tracking down the real identities of the suspects who sped to unknown directions to avoid the responding police officers.

Oranza, however, hinted that the IED was similar to those allegedly used by the  Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) operating in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

The police are also determining if the two recent incidents were related to each other.

Oranza appealed to the people in Midsayap town to stay vigilant and report to the nearest police stations any suspicious-looking individuals. – PNA