1 killed, 36 wounded in North Cotabato blast
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – As residents prepared for the New Year's eve celebration, a powerful blast leaves at least one person dead and 36 others wounded in the town of Mlang in North Cotabato.
Captain Joan Petinglay, spokesperson of the military's 6th Infantry Division, said the explosion occurred at the entrance of the town's public market at around 3:45 pm.
Military reports said 4 were wounded but the provincial government said it documented at least one fatality and 34 injured persons. Petinglay later released a progress report saying that there were 36 wounded by the blast.
The military identified the casualty as Christine Salo, who died on the spot.
Petinglay said the victims were brought to different hospitals in Mlang and Kidapawan in North Cotabato, and that "nails were seen in the X-ray examination result of some victims."
"This might mean that nails were among the components of the IED used," he said.
Responding security forces immediately sealed the blast site while bomb experts are now conducting an investigation to identify the perpetrators and the motive behind the incident.
North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Talino-Mendoza condemned the attack, which unfortunately happened during the holiday.
Mendoza said government agencies have been mobilized to fasttrack clearing operations and provide assistance to affected families.
On November 23, the same town was rocked by a powerful blast that killed two people and hurt 20 others.
"For the second time in Mlang, we have witnessed once again acts of barbarism aimed at disrupting our peace and order initiatives," Mendoza said.
"This act has no place in a civilized society. I reiterate our firm stand against any form of violence on our people," she added.
Government forces blamed the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) for the recent attacks in the province.
BIFF spokesman Abu Misry Mama denied the accusations asserting that they do not attack civilians. – Rappler.com