CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao (PNA) – The improvised explosive device (IED) that killed a motorist and wounded another in South Upi, Maguindanao on Tuesday bore the signature style of the terror group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the military here reported.
“This is the initial report from members of the military bomb disposal team who have helped their police counterparts in the post-blast investigation,” Lt. Col. Anhouvic Atilano, Sixth Infantry Division (6th ID) spokesperson, said Wednesday.
The blast, triggered by an IED fashioned from an 81-mm. mortar projectile, killed motorcycle driver Alberto de los Santos, 51, and wounded his back rider, Loreto Palma Jr., 56, as they were passing Barangay Poblacion Romangaob in South Upi at about 5:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Another IED, fashioned out from a 105-mm. Howitzer ammunition was disarmed by military and police explosives ordnance disposal teams at about 10:30 a.m. during the clearing operation.
Following the blast, Atilano said additional military troopers were deployed to South Upi and neighboring North Upi town to protect the civilians.
“Troopers from the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion have been sent to the area to augment added police forces also sent by the Police Regional Office – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” he said.
The same investigation by the military probe team pointed to a peace assembly by families locked in a land conflict in Barangay Kuya in South Upi as the target of the roadside bombs, Atilano said.
“The gathering was also set to be attended by local officials led by the town mayor,” he said.
In a separate interview, South Upi Mayor Reynalbert Insular said he believed that he was the target of the bomb attack.
“It is really possible as I was to facilitate the peace meeting,” he said.
On January 3, Insular survived an ambush perpetrated by armed men against his convoy in Barangay Pandan following a relief distribution in the conflict-affected village of Itaw in the same municipality.
Four relief workers of the local government unit were wounded in the incident.
The BIFF later claimed responsibility for the incident.