Army, Police on alert after 2 foiled bombing attempts in North Cotabato
By Noel Punzalan and Edwin Fernandez
KIDAPAWAN CITY (Philippines News Agency) — Police authorities in North Cotabato have been placed on heightened alert following the foiled twin bombing try by suspected members of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in M’lang town over the past two days.
North Cotabato police spokesperson, Supt. Bernard Tayong, said all police units across the province were directed to implement checkpoints and mobile chokepoints to prevent peace saboteurs from sowing violence and terror.
The Army in Central Mindanao also alerted all its units following the twin bombing attempts in the town of M’lang, in North Cotabato, about 20 km. west of this city.
“All police units and officials were directed to take precautionary measures to prevent terrorism in the province,” Tayong told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview.
In addition, elements of the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion have been directed by Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, to increase their alert status as he appealed for the public to be cooperative with authorities.
“We are seeking the continued support and cooperation of the people by being highly vigilant and immediately report to the authorities any suspicious item or person to prevent bombing plots here in Central Mindanao,” Sobejana said.
On Monday, an improvised explosive device was planted by still unidentified men in front of Arcylyn Store in Barangay Bagontapay, M’lang. It was discovered by alert civilians at about 10:30 a.m.
“The bomb was deactivated an hour later,” Tayong said.
Tayong said passersby noticed a black bag left in front of the store.
Suspecting it was a bomb, they alerted village officials who in turn called the authorities. The bag contained a canister wrapped in electrical tape, with black powder, and cut nails and broken bottles serving as shrapnel. It also contained two live M16 rifle bullets.
Police and military ordnance experts later deactivated the IED.
The bomb discovery on Monday was the second in M’lang in a span of two days.
On Sunday, at about 1 p.m., passengers waiting for rides found a pink bag left in front of a store along the national highway in Barangay Poblacion, M’lang, and alerted the police.
Bomb experts deactivated the suspected bomb that also contained black powder, metals sheets, and cut nails as shrapnel and had a mobile phone as the trigger device. Authorities said both discovered bombs bore the signature style of the BIFF. (PNA)