TACURONG CITY: Civilians and police authorities prevented another attempt by suspected terrorist to set off bombs in South Cotabato when they discovered an improvised bomb in Banga town Monday morning, police said Tuesday.
Senior Supt. Jose Briones Jr., South Cotabato police provincial director, said the improvised bomb fashioned from 81 mm mortar with mobile phone as triggering device was found by civilians at 9 a.m. at a provincial road in Purok Maligaya, Barangay Bangsa, about 30 kilometers south of here.
He said the civilians found a suspicious bag left unattended at a roadside. When check they found it heavy and wirings were seen protruding from something wrapped with packing tape.
Briones said the civilians alerted the police about the suspicious bag who quickly cordoned off the area.
Henry Puig, village councilman, said the residents noticed the explosive early in the morning but did not mind it and thought it was just a piece of garbage. Curious, Puig tried to check on the bag and found a mortar round.
Briones theorized that the bomb carrier could have planned to bring the IED somewhere else or in a populated area to detonate but abandoned it in Banga due to the presence of soldiers and policemen manning checkpoints on major highways in the province.
Briones said the IED has the signature of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) blamed by government security officials in the series of IED bomb attacks in North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Cotabato City.
The IED is now in the possession of police and Army bomb disposal team for safekeeping.
Briones said he is waiting directives from Police Regional Office 12 in Gen. Santos City as to when the ordnance will be defused.
He lauded the civilians, village officials and the police for quick reporting and timely action by law enforcers.
Briones added that community participation in crime prevention was proven effective with the incident.
Had it not for the alertness of civilians, the IED could have gone somewhere and could have maimed or killed innocent civilians.
Following the incident, Briones directed all police units in the province to increase police visibility and mobile checkpoints to thwart nefarious activities of lawless elements, especially it is already Christmas season. PNA