6 villagers hurt in Cotabato town grenade explosion

John Unson - Philstar.com
6 villagers hurt in Cotabato town grenade explosion
The six blast victims were immediately transported to different hospitals by emergency responders from the municipal government of Pikit, a troubled town in the first district of Cotabato province.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Six Moro villagers were hurt in a grenade blast that ripped through a residential area at dusk Saturday in Pikit town in Cotabato.

Pikit, home to mixed Muslim and Christian communities, is now touted as the “crime capital” of Region 12 owing to the unending spate of killings and bloody clashes among rival heavily-armed groups in the area since 2020.

Major Arvin John Cambang, municipal police chief, said on Sunday that the explosion injured six people, Rahib Buisan Alang, Esmail Abdul Abu, Ben Abdulkadir Matcher, Muhamad Guimbalangan Kalido, Tarmeji Silongan Kalido and Mukindang Guiambangan Kalido, all residents of Pikit.

Cambang said the victims, who sustained shrapnel wounds in different parts of their bodies, are now confined in hospitals.

They were whiling away time at one spot in Sitio Punol in the Fort Pikit area, not too distant from the town’s local government center, when a fragmentation grenade, hurled from a distance, landed before them and exploded.

It was the second grenade explosion in the town proper of Pikit in just eight days.

Two men on a motorcycle blasted a fragmentation grenade in front of a commercial purified water refilling station along a stretch of a busy thoroughfare in the center of the municipality in a nighttime bombing that triggered panic among villagers in houses around. 

Brig Gen. Jimili Macaraeg, Region 12 police director, told reporters Sunday that personnel of the Pikit Municipal Police Station are still investigating Saturday night's bombing with the help of barangay officials.

No fewer than 50 people had been killed in gun attacks in different barangays in Pikit since 2020, according to reports from the local police, from members of the multi-sector Pikit Municipal Peace and Order Council, the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade and 90th Infantry Battalion that has units in the municipality. 

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