MARAWI CITY: Seven explosions were recorded in three towns of Maguindanao before and during the conduct of Monday elections, resulting in the death of seven people and injury to several others.
In Pagalungan town on Monday morning, an explosion occurred near a polling center while voters, including a reelectionist mayor, were casting their votes.
Chief of Police, Senior Insp. Blayn Lumase said the explosion, believed to have come from a rifle grenade launcher, rocked Mamasabulod Elementary School at about 7:30 a.m., but no one was hurt.
In Datu Unsay, four explosions were reported set off on Sunday and Monday, resulting in the death of one person and the injury of another.
No one was hurt in the first two explosions at the town center on Sunday evening, 11 hours before the Monday polls.
But on Monday morning, Habiri Katapukan was killed while, Tarhana Manampa was wounded when unidentified suspects fired a rifle grenade towards the town’s public market, where voting was ongoing at around 7 a.m., according to the police.
The two victims were from Sultan Barongis town.
In Shariff Aguak on Sunday evening, two more explosions were recorded near the residential compound of former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan.
One of the explosions killed Saudia “Puti” Mandigan and injured her father Wahid, her mother, and two of her siblings.
However, the casting of votes continued despite the delays, while the police and military have tightened security in the areas affected by the attacks.
Meanwhile, hours before residents went to their polling centers in Lanao del Sur, unidentified suspects staged attacks in several towns.
On Sunday, improvised firecrackers were lobbed at the main gate of the Integrated Laboratory School (ILS) at about 11:40 p.m.
It was followed 10 minutes later by another explosion at the back of the Miftahus Salaam Integrated School (MSIS).
Marawi City Police chief Supt. Roel Lami-ing said the explosives used were firecrackers, and had no bomb components, based on initial investigations.
The two schools are located in Barangay Lomidong inside the state-owned Mindanao State University (MSU) main campus.
At about 3 a.m., a convoy of the board of elections inspectors (BEI) transporting election materials to Cabingan Elementary School was attacked inside the university, killing one person and wounding several others.
The fatality was identified as Hapidh Usman, a supporter of the Liberal Party’s Marawi City mayoral candidate Majul Gandamra.
Meanwhile, local residents reported that two school buildings in the towns of Tamparan and Poona-Bayabao were set ablaze by unidentified persons.
The military confirmed the burning incidents but did not provide further details.
Despite the attacks, it did not hinder the casting of votes in the province.