Twin blasts hurt 4 in Maguindanao

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A TWIN bomb explosion wounded four – a policeman, a soldier and two village officials – on Wednesday near a Philippine Army training camp in Datu Odin Sinsuat (DOS), Maguindanao.

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Chief Insp. Achmad Alibonga, DOS police chief, identified the wounded village official as Datu Pendatun Sinsuat, chairman of Barangay Semba.

Reports said the first explosion at about 7:20 a.m. occurred at the dirt road near the headquarters of the 38th Infantry Battalion and Division Training School in Barangay Upper Semba hitting Staff Sgt. Eddie Cane.

The succeeding blast wounded Pendatun, village official Sinarimbo Lalaog and Police Officer 2 Bobby Guialani Pendililang of DOS police station while they were investigating the first explosion.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attacks but the beleaguered province is a known stronghold of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and local Islamic State (IS) militants now battling security forces in Maguindanao and in the besieged city of Marawi.

The 6th Infantry Division and the Western Mindanao Command did not release any statement on the twin blasts, but police have tightened security in the town, putting up checkpoints and deploying more patrols.

The Philippine National Police provincial and regional officers were also silent on the incident.

The blasts occurred days after an alleged BIFF bomber was captured by the military in Midsayap town in the neighboring province of North Cotabato.

Several weapons and materials used in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices were seized from the arrested bomber whose identity was not released by the military, saying the suspect was being interrogated.

Security forces and militants have been fighting sporadically in Maguindanao since August and troops, aided by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, have recovered over two dozen improvised explosives after the clashes in the towns of Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Talayan and Datu Salibo. At least seven soldiers have been injured in the clashes since August with the military claiming to have killed more than five dozen BIFF fighters.

with JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL

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