TV5 reporter, cameraman hurt in blast – AFP

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(UPDATED) A military spokesman says the wounded are now being treated at the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE: The TV5 reporter and cameraman were first treated at the Philippine Army hospital in Camp Siongco, Maguindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – A reporter of TV5, his cameraman, 6 government troops and 6 civilians were hurt in two explosions along a road in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town in Maguindanao on Saturday morning, February 1, the military said.

The military’s 6th Infantry Division said the explosions ripped through a military convoy, including an armored personnel carrier, at 7:30 am.

Okay naman sila,” Colonel Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the division, told Rappler. “Because of their vest, they were only hit in the legs and arms,” Hermoso said.

Interaksyon, the website of TV5, identified their wounded staff as reporter Jeff Caparas and cameraman Adrian Bulatao. Interaksyon said they “are in stable condition, but suffered multiple shrapnel wounds on their right side, after the IED explosion hit a marked TV5 vehicle that was traveling with a civilian pick-up and two SFV military vehicles.”

SLIGHT INJURY. TV5 reporter Jeff Caparas in Camp Siongco

Hermoso said the wounded are now being treated at the Maguindanao General Hospital. The civlians who were hurt were riding in a tricycle, according to Hermoso.

Sources said the TV5 team was on its way to cover a flag-raising ceremony in Barangay Ganta in Datu Piang town, which was captured by the military from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). On their way to Ganta, they were told about an explosion in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, prompting them to go to the area. That was when they were also hit by an explosion, the sources added.

The military has launched a week-long offensive against members of the BIFF who are opposed to a peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. – with reports from Karlos Manlupig and Carmela Fonbuena/ 

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