Sunday, June 29, 2008

Military Foils Bomb Attack In Southern Philippines

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 29, 2008) – Philippine troops have disarmed Sunday a crude bomb left near a petrol depot in Mindanao, officials said.

Officials said the bomb was discovered by civilians near the main business district of Midsayap town in North Cotabato province. “We still don’t know who planted the improvised explosive device. It’s good that the IED was discovered by civilians,” Lt. Col. Julieto Ando, a spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, told the Mindanao Examiner.

No group or individual has claimed ownership of the IED or took responsibility for the foiled bombing, but several rebel groups are actively operating in the province.

Police and military have previously implicated the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, the Jemaah Islamiya and the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front which is currently negotiating peace with Manila. Communist insurgents are also known to operate in North Cotabato.

Fighting between MILF rebels and government forces have erupted last week in Maguindanao, Sarangani, North Cotabato and Basilan provinces with both sides blaming each other for the hostilities despite a truce.

“The recent MILF offensives against government troops have further raised doubts on the commitment of the rebel group to the cease-fire agreement and whether the MILF really aspires for peace in Mindanao,” said Col. Daniel Lucero, the Army’s Civil Affairs chief.

He said the MILF attacks displaced many civilians. “The rebel attacks are manifestations of the weakness of MILF to control its members, but in spite of these incidents, the army troops were further reminded by Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado on the national leadership’s instruction to uphold the primacy of the peace process,” Lucero said.
(Mindanao Examiner)

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