Police release photos of suspects in Cotabato mall bombing

DAVAO CITY – The special police group investigating the New Year's Eve explosion that killed two people and wounded over two dozen others in Cotabato City released the photos of two suspects blamed for the incident.

The photos were culled from footage of the closed-circuit television (CCTV) on the second floor of South Seas Mall.

Senior Superintendent Oliver Enmodias, head of the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) SouthSeas, said the CCTV caught the two still unidentified men as they planted the second improvised bomb that police later recovered and defused.

Enmodias said the first suspect was between 25 to 30 years old and carried a backpack, while the second suspect was between 50 to 60 years old.

BOMBING SUSPECT. Police suspect this man, aged 50 to 60, of involvement in the Cotabato City New Yearu2019s Eve blast. Photo from Special Investigation Task Group SouthSeas

BOMBING SUSPECT. Police suspect this man, aged 50 to 60, of involvement in the Cotabato City New Yearu2019s Eve blast.

Photo from Special Investigation Task Group SouthSeas

He said authorities were appealing to locals to provide any help that could lead to the identification and arrest of the suspects.

As this developed, Mayor Cynthia Guiani said the city government has offered a P500,000-cash reward for anyone who could provide information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects.

Enmodias told reporters in a news conference in Cotabato City on Friday evening, January 4, that based on the timestamp, the second bomb was placed at the mall's baggage counter on the second floor, a few minutes before the 1:59 pm blast at the mall's entrance door.

The Philippine National Police earlier suspected a local terror group inspired by ISIS (Islamic State) as behind the bombing but Malacañang itself warned against such speculation.

The incident happened as Mindanao continued to be under martial law, which was imposed on May 23, 2017, following the siege on Marawi City. – Rappler.com