DAVAO CITY, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – A member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) and 9 others, including the rebel group’s chief of staff, were wounded as two explosions rocked Maguindanao on Monday morning, November 26.
Abu Misry Mama, spokesman of the BIFM, said two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) ripped through two convoys of BIFM members and supporters who were passing by the irrigation canal in Barangay Salvo in the town of Datu Saudi Ampatuan.
More than a thousand BIFM members and supporters were on their way to attend an Islamic symposium in an undisclosed location in Maguindanao.
The first bomb exploded around 8:15 in the morning, hurting BIFM chief of staff Mohaiden Animbang and one of his escorts.
After 20 minutes, another bomb exploded 15 meters from the site of the first explosion, as the convoy of BIFM vice-chairman for political affairs Dr Mohammad Ali Tambako was passing by. He had more than 100 security escorts and supporters in the convoy.
At least 8 BIFM members and supporters, including a woman, were injured in the explosion, Mama said.
The rebel spokesman added that a rebel fighter died later while undergoing medical treatment in a house in the nearby community.
Mama said the BIFM is still conducting its investigation to identify the perpetrator and the motive behind the IED attack.
The BIFM, led by Ustadz Ameril Umra Kato, splintered from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after serious disagreements with the leadership in the conduct of the peace negotiations. The MILF recenly signed an initial Framework Agreement with the government.
“As of now, we cannot pinpoint any group or personalities behind the attack. But we are sure that the targets are chief of staff Animbang and vice-chair for political affairs Tambako,” Mama said.
He added that they immediately deployed rebel units to secure the area.
He condemned the attack saying that the Islamic symposium is a venue to talk about religion and peace.
“The symposium should be one of the best things that could happen for the BIFM and they attacked it. We tried hard to gather our members and supporters to talk about religion,” Mama said. – Rappler.com