Suspected Moro bandits set off roadside bomb as Army convoy pass by in Maguindanao

Suspected Moro bandits set off at 7 a.m. on Thursday a powerful improvised explosive device along the national highway here while a military convoy of vehicles was passing by, the Army said.

Colonel Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the 601st Infantry Brigade based in Tacurong City, said the military convoy was heading to the headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao when a powerful blast rocked the town as soldiers passed by.

"Luckily, nobody was hurt, it was clearly meant for our troops," Sobejana said.

He said post blast investigation was still going on at the blast site in Barangay Satan, Shariff Aguak, about a kilometer away from the headquarters of 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Poblacion Shariff Aguak.

No one has claimed responsibility but military and police officials are looking at possible involvement of outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Before this morning's roadside bombing, the Moro bandit group has threatened to launch offensives against the Army in Maguindano's second district.

The BIFF said it will not declare unilateral ceasefire this Christmas and New Year.

Sobejana said government forces have been placed on double red alert since Dec. 16 to ensure the safety of commuters passing by Maguindanao and those having Church-related activities.

More checkpoints were put up along the highway from Shariff Aguak to Cotabato City as preventive measures.

Sobejana sought understanding from commuters on the delays the checkpoints may have cause them but he stressed it is for the safety of everybody.

Today's road side bombing was preceded by at least four IED attacks last week by the BIFF in Army and police outposts in Datu Salibo and Datu Piang, both in Maguindanao.

In attacks last week, a soldier was wounded while a civilian was also hurt when an IED prematurely exploded as the victim was passing by on a motorbike.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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