2 dead, 34 injured in Cotabato City New Year’s Eve blast

Sofia Tomacruz
2 dead, 34 injured in Cotabato City New Year’s Eve blast
(5th UPDATE) PNP Cotabato Spokesperson Senior Inspector Roel Zafra says the explosion occurred outside the South Seas Mall complex after an unidentified male person dropped a wrapped box

MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) – A deadly explosion rocked a mall in Cotabato City killing two people and injuring 34 others, some of whom were children, as residents were set to celebrate New Year’s Eve on Monday, December 31. 

In a text message to Rappler, Philippine National Police (PNP) Cotabato Spokesperson Senior Inspector Roel Zafra said the explosion occurred at about 1:49 pm along Magallanes St outside the South Seas Mall complex.

The following were brought to the Cotabato Medical Specialist Hospital, United Doctors Hospital, Maternity Hospital, and Cotabato Regional Medical Center Hospital:

Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC)

  • Mohalidin Salibo Mamidto, 42 years old, male, a resident of Mother Barangay Poblacion, Cotabato City
  • Abdulmanan Amid Mamidto, 16 years old, male, a resident of Mother Barangay Poblacion, Cotabato City
  • Arnalyn Abid Mamidto, 2 years old, female, a resident of Mother Barangay Poblacion, Cotabato City
  • Krizza Mae Amistoso, 29 years old, female, a resident of Bucana, Cotabato City
  • Mabod Catuon, 5 years old, male, a resident of Cotabato City
  • Nasreen Saylila Andin, 29 years old, male, married, a resident of Rosary Heights 6, Cotabato City
  • Jonathan Toribiano (Dead on Arrival), male, a resident of Brgy. Darugao, North Upi, Maguindanao
  • Ryan Cosain Madali, 23 years old, male, a resident of Mother Barangay Poblacion, Cotabato City
  • Samanodin Masurong Romumba, 30 years old, male, a resident of Making, Parang, Maguindanao
  • Aida Analya Mocado, 23 years old, female, a resident of Cotabato City
  • Mohamiden Saavedra Kahar, 15 years old, male, a resident of Poblacion 7, Cotabato City
  • Hamida Akmad Solaiman, 31 years old, female, a resident of Cot5abato City
  • Sedik Otin, 60 years old, male, a resident of Mother Barangay Poblacion, Cotabato City
  • Joey Guiama Api, 31 years old, male, a resident of Poblacion 2, Cotabato City
  • Bai Sandra Ayunan Mia, 16 years old, female, a resident of Kalanganan, Cotabato City
  • Aida Dalandas, 56 years old, female, a resident of Poblacion 1, Cotabato City
  • Maria Marissa Marzon Torres, 49 years old, female, a resident of Peñafrancia, Cotabato City
  • Tarhata Biruar, 43 years old, female, a resident of Kalanganan, Cotabato City
  • Marie Franchesca Manzon Torres, 29 years old, female, a resident of Peñafrancia, Cotabato City
  • Maria Fe Diazon Paren, 29 years old, female, a resident of Bucana, Cotabato City
  • Norhaine Daton, 4 years old, female, a resident ofKapinpilan, Cotabato City
  • Norleen Biyam, 4 years old, female, a resident of Kapinpilan, Cotabato City
  • Alnair Andaya Macado, 23 years old, female, a resident of Cotabato City
  • Sarah Jane Esmael, 31 years old, female, a resident of Kalanganan II, Cotabato City
  • Abdulhamid Upam Maulana, 41 years old, male, a resident of RH-13, Cotabato City

Cotabato Medical Specialist Hospital (CMHS)

  • Mariam Wahab Kali (Dead on Arrival), 31 years old, female, married, house keeper, a resident of Poblacion 2, Cotabato City
  • Roniel Baraguir Masuban, 18 years old, male, single, student of Sultan Mastura National High School, a resident of Bollok, Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao
  • Mylove Nataño, 32 years old, female, a resident of Don E Sero St., Cotabato City.

Notre Dame Hospital (NDH)

  • Mohamad Mamadra Balabagan, 48 years old, male, a resident of Balot, Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao
  • Irene Silvano Rustia, 47 years old, female, self-employed, separated, a resident of Poblacion 4, Cotabato City
  • Justine Sidro Rustia, 9 years old, male, student of Kalamansig Elementary School, a resident of Poblacion 4, Cotabato City
  • Lordy Angelo Baydo, 8 years old, male, student of Innovative System Institute (ISI), a resident of Poblacion 3, Cotabato City

United Doctors Hospital (UDH)

  • Ebrahim Historya Marsuban, 25 years old, male, married, a resident of Bolos, Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao
  • Rhea Marsuban, female, a resident of Bollok, Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao
  • Naida Salomon Sampurna, 16 years old, female, single, a resident of Mother Barangay Poblacion, Cotabato City

Cotabato Sanitarium Hospital

  • Karim Guialan Padian, 26 years old, self-employed, single and resident of Alamada, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao

Zafra said initial investigations revealed that an unidentified male dropped a wrapped box in the area. Seconds later, reports said the box exploded. 

In an initial police report, the PNP said the type of explosive had yet to be determined but that it was dropped in the mall’s baggage area.

Authorities later said they found a second improvised explosive device (IED) at the 2nd floor of the mall at around 2:40 pm. They “disrupted” it around 10 minutes later, with “1/2 inch nails, metal ball bearings as enhancement, disintegrated slide switch, disintegrated improvised blaring cap, alley wires, and [LED]” recovered from it.

Cotabato city police Officer-In-Charge Senior Superintendent Rolly Octavio also said the motive behind the explosion was still being investigated.

The area was cleared and the police cordon lifted around 5:28 pm, the police added.

Condemning the violence

PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde, in a statement, condemned “these despicable acts of violence perpetrated this afternoon by unknown elements in Cotabato City.” 

Albayalde also “immediately directed the creation of a Special Investigation Task Group to get into the bottom of this incident.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines released a statement condemning those behind the explosion, adding “an unidentified individual allegedly dropped a wrapped box along Magallanes Street in front of the South Seas mall entrance.”

The AFP added, “While we all know that the terrorist BIFF and its breakaway group Daulah Islamiyah are the ones with the wicked desire to sow terror and inflict harm to innocent civilians, we don’t discount the possibility of other interest groups aligned with the same evil intentions” as being involved.

The AFP also urged “all peace-loving citizens in Cotabato City to be very vigilant and report to the authorities any suspicious individuals or packages to avert a similar incident from happening.” – with reports from Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.