By Francis Wakefield
The Army’s 6th Infantry Division Wednesday said that members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were behind the deadly blast in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, that left two people, including a seven-year-old girl, dead and 34 others wounded.
In an interview, Capt. Arvin Encinas, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said that based on their initial investigation the BIFF perpetrated the bombing as part of their retaliatory attacks in response to the all-out offensive launched by the military against them.
“The attack is (also) part of their retaliation, to create, sow fear in the community,” Encinas said.
Encinas said the BIFF took advantage of the ongoing festival taking place in Isulan town which is currently celebrating the 7th Hamungaya Festival as part of the 61st founding anniversary of the town.
“They took advantage of ‘yung mataong lugar (the large crowd) though their primary target is our security forces,” Encinas said.
“During that time at around 8:30 in the evening while our troops were conducting mobile patrol they accosted two suspicious individuals who left a bag in front of an establishment (H and J Marketing). After being accosted, they hurriedly left with the bomb suddenly exploding wounding and killing people,” he added.
Encinas said fortunately, a KM450 military truck was nearby and managed to block the shrapnels from the IED that exploded.
“Kung wala ‘yung military truck baka mas mahigit pa sa 36 o dalawang patay ‘yung naging biktima (If the military truck was not there, there could have been more victims),” Encinas said.
He said two soldiers and a Civilian Armed Auxilliary (CAA) member were among those wounded in the explosion.
“Sa national highway kasi ito. Tamang-tama na pagkadaan ng military truck natin saka sumabog kaya most probably command detonated itong IED na ito dahil tinaon nila na dadaan na iyung military truck natin (It was in the national highway. The military truck was passing by when the explosion happened that’s why most probably the IED was command detonated),” he said.
“Like I said, their primary target is our security forces in the area conducting security measures,” he said.
Encinas said the IED used in the blast could have been made from an 81mm mortar.