IED blast at volleyball game in Maguindanao kills 1, injures 7 — military

Published September 19, 2021, 2:56 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

An improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated in the middle of a volleyball game at a court in Datu Piang, Maguindanao on Saturday afternoon, September 18, killing a spectator and injuring seven others.

POST-BLAST SCENARIO. Army and police bomb experts conduct an investigation at the Datu Piang covered court on Saturday (Sept. 18, 2021). A suspected IED hurled by still unidentified assailants at about 3 p.m., hurt eight spectators of a volleyball game. (Photo courtesy of 6ID/PNAManila Bulletin)

Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division (6ID), identified the lone fatality as Norodin Musa (male), 21.

Meanwhile, hurt were Fahad Tato, 22; Samsudin Kadtugan, 21; Benzar Macogay, 24; Amid Miparanun, 19; Carlo Mobpon, 25; Tukoy Abo, 13; and Mohamad Wanti, 29.

According to initial information, a volleyball match was ongoing at a covered court in Barangay Poblacion when the IED suddenly exploded at 3:39 p.m.

Three angles were being considered by the military as to the possible motive behind the explosion: a diversionary attack from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) or Daulah Islamiyah (DI), a gender-related crime, or a political attack.

Baldomar said they recovered “black powder” at the blast site which were used as charge for the IED — a tactic that is usually utilized by the BIFF and DI in their attacks.

“Based on the post-blast investigation, there were black powder and the IED was command detonated. It has been the signature [attack] here in Central Mindanao since they started training their members to make IEDs,” he said in Filipino.

“Maybe they want to divert the focus of the military because we are continuously conducting combat operations against them and many of their members have already surrendered,” he added.

In December 2020, the BIFF attacked a town center in Barangay Poblacion, Datu Piang after were forced to go down the mountains due to the successive operations of the military.

The military was also considering the testimonies of the victims — most of them are members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community — after they apparently received death threats due to their sexual preference.

“According to them, they were warned that what they are doing (being a member of LGBTQ community) is against their religion and if they do not change, they will pay a price,” Baldomar noted.

The 6ID spokesperson also said that Datu Piang is considered an “election hotspot” which could have possible caused one political party to threaten a rival.

“There will be an election next year and the filing of candidacy is forthcoming so maybe it is a form of demolition job,” he said.

At present, two of the injured victims have already been released from the hospital while five others were still being observed by the doctors.