COTABATO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Apr) – Philippine soldiers detonated a homemade bomb Sunday in the restive North Cotabato province, south of Manila, officials said.
Officials said the bomb was left near a police post in Tacurong City, but had been discovered before it was to explode. “Soldiers detonated the bomb after police manning the post discovered the explosive,” Maj. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, told the independent regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.
No group claimed responsibility for the foiled attack, said Col. Danny Garcia, the local army commander.
“We are still investigating who is behind this failed bombing attempt,” Garcia said in a separate interview. “At this point, we cannot pinpoint to any group, but we have tightened security around Tacurong.”
He said the bomb was made from C4 explosive and rigged to a timer. “It had steel pellets and some components taken from a mortar rocket that would trigger detonation,” Garcia said.
The discovery of the bomb came just a day after the United States warned its citizens against traveling to Mindanao island and the Sulu Archipelago in the southern Philippines because of heightened terror activities.
Aside from the United States, Canada an Australia also told their citizens not to travel to the troubled region, where security forces are battling members of the al-Qaeda affiliate Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya and Moro National Liberation Front rebels.
A grenade attack last week in North Cotabato’s Pikit town injured three people working for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Unidentified men tossed two grenades on the USAID field office and fled. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Another bomb attack last week in Midsayap town also in North Cotabato also injured one civilian. A man was also killed after a bomb he was transporting exploded in Cotabato City in Maguindanao province near North Cotabto.
Abu Sayyaf militants also beheaded six construction workers and a fisherman they kidnapped in Parang town in Jolo island in the Sulu Archipelago two weeks ago. (With a report from Mark Navales and Juan Magtanggol)