IED at venue delays medical mission of Maguindanao gov, brother

John Unson - Philstar.com
IED at venue delays medical mission of Maguindanao gov, brother
The recovered homemade bomb was made up from three 81-mm mortar projectiles.
John Unson

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — Authorities on Wednesday disarmed an improvised bomb at the venue of a medical mission of Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu in Rajah Buayan town in this province.

Residents found the improvised explosive device in Barangay Tabungao, Rajah Buayan before Mangudadatu and his brother, Mayor Freddie of the Mangudadatu municipality, could reach the area from the provincial capitol in Buluan town to launch the daylong activity.

Freddie is president of the provincial league of mayors and the group’s chosen candidate for provincial governor in the May 2019 elections.

Initial reports reaching the Police Regional Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said the improvised explosive device was fashioned from three live 81-mm mortar projectiles wired together. The IED was designed to be activated from a distance.

Personnel of the Army's 40th Infantry Battalion and the Maguindanao provincial police managed to safely deactivate the IED promptly.

Maj. Arvin Encinas, public affairs chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said their intelligence units are now helping the provincial police identify who was behind the botched bombing.

Rajah Buayan Mayor Zamzamin Ampatuan said the humanitarian activities of the governor in Barangay Tabungao proceeded after a short delay.

Part of the program was the inauguration of an elementary duplex classroom built by soldiers and local leaders using funds from the governor's office.

Suspected partisans with links to local militant blocs tried to kill Mangudadatu using IEDs five times in the past eight years.

A provincial board member, Russman Sinsuat, was killed in one of the bombings.

Rajah Buayan is near the Liguasan Delta, where there is a presence of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which operates in the fashion of the Islamic State.

Police probers from the Maguindanao police and PRO-ARMM are not discounting the possibility that the botched bombing could also be politically-motivated.

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