ZAMBOANGA CITY: Seven persons, including three children, were wounded after a man lobbed a grenade at a public market in the restive Maguindanao province late Friday afternoon.
Although the reason for the attack was not immediately known, authorities are looking into the possibility that it could have been caused by a clan war. Investigators are also considering a report that it may have been a crime of passion as suspect Sauto Giti was reportedly left by his wife for a younger man.
Capt. Joann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division, reported that five bullet casings for a 9mm pistol and a grenade safety lever were recovered in the area.
“There is an ongoing operation to track down the perpetrator of this attack,” Petinglay told The Manila Times.
She added that the wounded were rushed to hospital. They were identified as Jamila Tomas, Abdullah Tomas, Saima Raoro, Salahodin Tomas, Camlon Raoro, Sirikit Magayan and one known only as Locman.
A clan war (locally known as rido) is common in many parts of the Muslim autonomous region. The U.S. Agency for International Development and the think-tank Asia Foundation said more than 3,000 people had been killed in over the past seven decades in family feuds.
Rido can involve disputes among family members or among two or more rival families, pitting neighbors or different ethnic groups against each other. The disputes center on issues of land, money, marriage or political power and involve revenge killings.
The violence increases with each act of retaliation, broadening to include those not directly involved in the dispute, including women and children, according to the Asia Foundation, adding, some feuds lasted for decades.
Investigators are also verifying the veracity of a report, which said that Giti was able to trace his wife’s lover, who at that time was eating at the public market. The grenade blast was reportedly preceded by several gunshots.