By Alexis Romero
Publish in Philstar
MANILA, Philippines - The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) could be behind the bombing in General Santos Tuesday night, a military official said yesterday.
Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said the BIFF, which opposes the peace talks, could be making its presence felt in the area.
“Based on the IED (improvised explosive device), it seems that it has a connection with BIFF spoilers, the group of Basit Usman that is also involved in extortion,” he said.
“But it should be treated as an isolated incident because for a long time, nothing has happened there,” he added.
No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which occurred at around 7:40 p.m. at the Rizal Monument in front of city hall. Seven persons were wounded.
Sarah Alquiza, Marlon Pajada, Paul Aminong, James Abrea, Fe Magnanao, Geraldine Eron and Michelle Abranilla, suffered shrapnel wounds in different parts of the body and were rushed to various hospitals, according to Superintendent Rolly Octavio, deputy police director of General Santos City.
Año said it appeared that the bombing was not intended to inflict casualties since the place is not busy at night.
“If they want casualties, they would have done at the market or mall,” he said.
He said the military’s Task Force GenSan and the police are conducting an investigation into the incident. “We upgraded our security measures to prevent similar incidents,” he said.
Octavio said they are validating reports that one of two men seen at the plaza hurled the grenade near the monument.
Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao told reporters he had received intelligence information about a plot to bomb General Santos City and had informed the police about it.
Meanwhile, police have no leads on the perpetrators of the grenade explosion that rocked a warehouse in Barangay Maganda in Lamitan City in Basilan also on Tuesday night.
There was no reported casualty or injury. Police are checking if the Abu Sayyaf was behind the attack.