SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: It was a bloody New Year’s eve in Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat as a police officer was killed and seven other policemen and two Army soldiers were wounded in separate roadside bombings while two civilians died and 16 others were injured from an improvised explosive device (IED) left in a pedicab.
Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director, said the separate IED attacks happened on the night of December 31.
Tello said Senior Police Officer Max Kaibat died while undergoing surgical operation at Maguindanao Provincial Hospital after a roadside explosion at about 8 p.m. on Sunday.
The wounded policemen were Police Officer (PO3) Jalison Abdullah, Archie Ansare Amelista, Ricardo Almonia, Alimodin Nuphay and Zainoden Abdullah, all with the ranks of PO1 and members of Shariff Aguak police office. All of them are now confined at the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital.
Tello said the police personnel were conducting patrol during the New Years’ Eve revelry in Barangay Poblacion Mother in Shariff Aguak town when an IED exploded hitting the car they were riding.
Police believe the attack was perpetrated by the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) which had been the subject of offensive since Christmas Day.
At about 7:30 a.m. on Monday, another roadside bomb was set off and injured two soldiers while an Army truck loaded with troops was patrolling Barangay Limpongo in Datu Hofer town also in Maguindanao after the attack on the policemen.
Hit by shrapnel were Privates First Class Nelmar Acaso and John Mark Roquero, both members of the 57th Infantry Battalion.
Police and military officials said the group of BIFF Commander Bungos was behind the attacks.
Meanwhile, in Tacurong City two civilians died while 16 others, including a minor, were wounded when another IED placed in a pedicab exploded along the national highway in Barangay Buenaflor, an hour before 2018.
Supt. Raul Supiter, Sultan Kudarat province police director, identified the fatalities as Dominador Datahan of Barangay New Isabela, Tacurong City who died on arrival at Sultan Kudarat provincial hospital in Isulan town, and Aladin Laguiab of Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao died at about 6 a.m. on January 1.
Supiter said the vehicle was in front of Villa Garde KTV Bar in Barangay Buenaflor when the blast happened.
Police investigators are looking into the posibility that the pedicab passengers were carrying the IED.
Eight of the injured were brought to Quijano Hospital while seven were confined at Tamondong Hospital, all in Tacurong City.
The blast victims were identified as Ali Suharto of Talayan, Maguindanao; Gaianagan Amir, 21, of Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat; Aldillah Nasrodin, 35, also of Lambayong; Rahib Abdulla, 27, of SK Pendatun, Maguidanao; Dalandang Salahudin, 27, of SK Pendatun; Richard Seredica, 44, of Tacurong City; Baumol Nasrodin, 22, of SK Pendatun; Abdullah Rahib of SK Pendatun; John Michael Lamis, 19, of Tacurong;
Rasid Kuntao, 12, of Buluan, Maguindanao; Mohidin Lansangan, 21, of Lambayong; Sapar Lakim, 28, Buluan; Alipin Mukalid, 31, of Datu Paglat, Maguindanao; Poljay Kitalok, 24, of Datu Paglat; Sahod Mohamad, 34, of SK Pendatun and Datuman Mustapha, 35, of Datu Paglat.
A post blast investigation was on going as of Monday afternoon, however, Supiter said “it could be a case of premature explosion of an IED.”