• Power squabble, blast jolt Cotabato university

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    KIDAPAWAN CITY: A strong blast rocked Sunday night the campus of the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in Kabacan, North Cotabato where academic constituents were still reeling from the adversities of just-resolved leadership crisis, police said on Monday.

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    Sr. Supt. Danny Peralta, North Cotabato police director, said the blast originated from a military-type fragmentation hand grenade lobbed at the back of the USM administration building.

    The explosion occurred past 9 p.m. on Sunday, shortly after hundreds of USM students ended an acquaintance party at an adjacent university gymnasium.

    Peralta said that he inspected the blast scene and discovered some window glasses at the back of the administration building shattered.

    Dozens of people had earlier staged a protest blockade at the school’s main gate, demanding a university leadership change because of alleged power abuse and graft.

    The blast was the latest in a string of violence victimizing USM personnel, following the recent settlement of protracted indignation by some residents demanding for school leadership change. The protest ended last month in the wake of combined national and local efforts that led to the designation of a university officer-in-charge.

    Peralta refused to comment whether or not the blast was linked to the power squabble, saying the campus is a chartered school built-in with independent security system.

    “We just assist in investigation and filing of charges where there are identified suspects in atrocities that involve the university,” Peralta said.

    The blast followed separate shooting incidents outside the campus that left USM workers killed in late last month and early this month.

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