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1 dead, 16 hurt in North Cotabato bombing

John Unson (The Philippine Star) - November 17, 2014 - 10:55am

NORTH COTABATO, Philippines - A college student was killed and 16 others were hurt when a bomb planted near an elementary school exploded in Kabacan town, Sunday night.

Police identified the fatality as Monique Mantawil, a development communication student at the University of Southern Mindanaao in the town proper of Kabacan.

Montawil, who suffered shrapnel wounds in diffent parts of her body, died while being rushed to a hospital in Davao City.

The injured victims were identified as Giezel Mae Butil, Samra Sembaga, Hartzel Bragat, Tonton Kusain, Flo Rohana, Girlie Royless, Rowena Nufies, Albert Palakpak, Ritchie Baguio, Queen Mary Alimuhanid, Muhamed Masukat, Ibrahim Bantulan, Arvie Estrella, and Mervin Lagat..

Police said an improvised explosive device, detonated remotely with a mobile phone, exploded at arond 7 p.m. near the gate of the Kabacan Central Pilot Elementary School in Barangay Poblacion.

Other reports said the bomb was planted near a highway pedestrian overpass.

Authorities suspect that the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters are behind the latest attack.

Kabacan is less than 20 kilometers southeast of North Cotabato’s Pikit town, scene of recurring encounters since Wednesday between the military and the outlawed BIFF.

Two more improvised explosive devices were recovered 15 minutes later, near the blast site.

The bombs were promptly defused by responding Army and police bomb disposal experts.

Meanwhile, Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza offered a P100,000 reward for any information that would lead to the arrest of the suspects in the bombing.

Mendoza said the provincial health office is now attending to the needs of the victims, 13 of them are confined at a public hospital near the capitol in Kidapawan City.

Mendoza said her office will also help in the burial of Montawil, a scion of a big Moro clan in the municipality of Kabacan.

“This bombing is a direct affront to the Moro, Christian, and lumad communities in the province. This is condemnable. We shall leave no stone unturned in our quest for justice. The police and military will dig deep into this to identify the culprits for them to be prosecuted,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said members of the inter-agency provincial peace and order council are now helping determine the identities of the bombers. - with Dennis Carcamo

ALBERT PALAKPAK ARVIE ESTRELLA BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS BARANGAY POBLACION DAVAO CITY DENNIS CARCAMO EMMYLOU TALINO-MENDOZA FLO ROHANA GIEZEL MAE BUTIL KABACAN MENDOZA
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