Police arrest Sultan Kudarat grenade suspect

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COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: Philippine National Police (PNP) operatives on Monday arrested one of three suspects who lobbed fragmentation grenades at an open-field carnival in Esperanza town, Sultan Kudarat that killed a six-year-old boy and wounded 18 others on Sunday evening.

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Chief Insp. Bryan Bernardino, Esperanza chief of police, said the arrested suspect was undergoing tactical interrogation.

“We cannot reveal his identity in the meantime while efforts to locate his accomplices are still underway,” Bernardino said.

The blast killed Anton John Antonio and injured scores of people in a carnival, locally known as peryahan, celebrating the town’s fiesta. Only one grenade exploded.

Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commanding general of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID), said intelligence operatives from the 601st Army Brigade are now assisting police investigators in tracking down the two other suspects.

Witnesses said three suspected bombers were on board motorcycles, positioned in three spots and tossed MK-2 grenades in different directions.

Responding bomb disposal experts recovered three grenade safety pins in the crime scene.

The bombing occurred a day after another explosion near a Philippine Army detachment in Barangay Batulawan, Pikit town in North Cotabato on Saturday evening. The blast by motorcycle riding suspects injured a bystander, Panga Muslimin.

The bombings occurred after the 6ID urged people in Central Mindanao to take precautionary measures against escalation of attacks on civilian targets by the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who are out to take revenge on the deaths of 18 jihadist killed in encounters with the military in the province last week.

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