By VICTOR REYES
Publish in Malaya.com
SEVEN civilians were injured when suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters detonated an improvised bomb near the Gen. Santos city hall last Tuesday night.
“Based on the signature of the IED (improvised explosive device), this has connection with the (peace) spoiler BIFF,” said Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division based in Compostela Valley.
Año specifically pointed to the group of Basit Usman, who joined the BIFF after serving as leader of the Special Operations Group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The MILF signed a peace accord with government last March.
Usman, a known bomb expert, has linkages with the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf and with the Southeast Asian regional terrorist Jemaah Islamiyah. The US government has offered $1 million reward for his arrest.
The bomb was left at the Jose Rizal monument in front of the city hall. It exploded around 7:40 p.m., injuring Sarah Alquiza, 20; Christian Paul Amimong, 20; Jay Magnanao, 17; Marlon Bajada, 23; Joan Michael Ccayanes Abranilla 17; James Ralph Abrea 23; and Geraldine Table Elon, 19.
“I believe the purpose of this is to make their presence felt by the people. Probably, this is also related to extortion. They might be sending a warning to businessmen they are trying to extort from,” said Año of the BIFF.
Año said the bomb was not meant to inflict many casualties. He said if the purpose was to cause maximum casualties, the explosive should have been planted in populated areas such as malls or public markets.
“It seemed that it’s not really designed to inflict maximum casualties. It should have been planted at a market or mall. It was left in a public place where there are less number of people at night,” said Año.
Año said there is no known presence of the BIFF in the city but the area is only three hours away from Maguindanao, a bailiwick of the BIFF.