COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Government security forces defused Sunday, February 2, a powerful homemade bomb planted by breakaway Muslim rebels along the highway in Maguindanao, a military official said.
Residents reported to soldiers that they discovered an improvised explosive device left by members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) along the national highway in the village of Macasampen, Guindulungan town, shortly after 6 a.m.
“Our bomb experts immediately responded to the scene and defused the explosive. This is another attemp to inflict casualties among civilians and soldiers,” Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman for the military’s 6th Division, said.
The incident comes a day after BIFF bomb attacks left 2 journalists, 6 soldiers and 4 civilians injured.
On Saturday, February 1, Jeff Caparas, a reporter of TV5, and his cameraman Adrian Bulatao, were among the 12 wounded in the bomb explosion in Maguindanao.
The military blamed followers of Ameril Umbra Kato, the founder of the BIFF – a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – in the attack.
The BIFF has opposed peace talks between the government and the larger MILF, which were concluded over the weekend in Malaysia.
The BIFF broke away from the MILF in 2008 and has vowed to continue the uprising because the Malaysian-brokered talks would not lead to a separate Bangsamoro homeland in Mindanao. – Jeoffrey Maitem/Rappler.com