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Regional groups, BARMM officials condemn Cotabato City chapel bombing

John Unson - Philstar.com
Regional groups, BARMM officials condemn Cotabato City chapel bombing
The bombing of the Sto. Niño Chapel in Barangay Rosary Heights 3 in Cotabato City on May 19, 2024 left two Catholic worshipers wounded.
Photo courtesy of Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY — Various sectors condemned Sunday’s grenade attack on a small Catholic chapel in a residential area in Cotabato City that hurt two worshipers and caused panic among villagers in houses nearby.

Two of the more than ten individuals performing a group prayer service in the small chapel, Marybel Atis, 40, and the 65-year-old Rosita Tubilo, were hurt in the explosion.

The executive council of the Moro National Liberation Front called the bombing of the Sto. Niño Chapel in Purok Bagong Silang in Barangay Rosary Heights 3 in Cotabato City a “satanic act” and urged witnesses to help the police identify the two motorcycle-riding bombers behind the atrocity.

“That act of terrorism should be solved immediately via multi-sector efforts. Religions should not set us apart, but unite us instead in the context of religious solidarity and ecumenism. We in the Moro National Liberation Front condemn that grenade incident,” Bangsamoro Regional Labor Minister Muslimin Sema, chairman of the MNLF’s executive council, said in a text message to reporters on Monday morning.

Col. Querubin Manalang Jr., Cotabato City police director, said one of the two bombers riding a motorcycle together lobbed the fragmentation grenade inside the roadside chapel through its entrance door and immediately fled.

Officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Grand Coalition, or BGC, a bloc of four big regional political parties, had also condemned the chapel bombing and together called on the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and barangay officials in Rosary Heights 3 to cooperate in putting closure to the atrocity.

“That incident happened far from our place but we felt bad about it because we had, just five months ago, an incident like that in Marawi City, a deadly one,” Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr., referring to December 2023 bombing of a mass inside the Dimaporo Gymnasium inside the campus of the Mindanao State University in Marawi City that left four Catholics dead and hurt some 40 others.

A member of the BGC's central leadership core, Adiong, a senior official of their regional Serbisyong Inklusibo, Alyansang Progresibo Party, said that Maranaos in Lanao del Sur were also affected by the bombing of the Sto. Niño chapel that left two worshipers wounded.

Top officials of the BARMM government, among them members of the parliament and its figurehead, Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, urged local authorities to work together in identifying the people responsible for the Sto. Niño Chapel bombing for immediate prosecution.

The location of the worship site is less than five kilometers away from the BARMM capitol in Cotabato City’s uptown area. 

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