DAVAO CITY – The military seeks to blame pro-Islamic State militants for the explosion that killed a spectator and injured 7 others during a volleyball match in Datu Piang, Maguindanao on Saturday afternoon.
Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Baldomar of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division told the Inquirer by telephone that members of the LGBT community were playing volleyball when a homemade bomb exploded in their midst around 3:39 p.m. near the covered municipal court near the center of Datu Piang. city.
He said the explosion killed one onlooker and injured seven others.
According to investigators, the grenade was thrown into the middle of the crowd while the volleyball match was in progress.
Baldomar said the attack could be a diversionary tactic by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) due to the government’s ongoing operation against them.
“We recovered fragments of the bombs and we suspect this was done by the BIFF,” Badomar said.
In December of last year, gunmen from BIFF torched a police car in Datu Piang, causing panic among residents. The activists were foiled after a brief exchange of gunfire with police.
BIFF spokesman Abu Jihad said the group attacked police vehicles in Datu Piang because they believed the police were involved in illegal activities in the city.
Authorities blamed the BIFF, which split from the MILF and declared its support for ISIS, for the series of past attacks in the region.
In January, BIFF activists carried out two roadside bombings in the south, killing three and injuring dozens. In 2019, the group carried out a series of bombings in the south targeting a market and a restaurant that left more than two dozen injured.
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