Sunday, June 21, 2009

1 killed, 32 wounded in twin grenade blasts in Mindanao

Army Lieutenant Colonel Edgardo de Leon and Colonel Rainier Cruz and Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez look at a piece of metal believed part of fragmentation grenade that exploded Sunday, June 21, 2009 in Maasim town in Sarangani province. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 21, 2009) – One Filipino was killed and scores wounded in twin grenade attacks in the restive region of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, where security forces are fighting Moro rebels, officials said.

Officials said the attacks occurred one after the other late Saturday in the town of Maasim in Sarangani province and officials said as many as 32 people were wounded. The blasts were largely blamed to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is fighting the past three decades for a separate homeland in the South.

Officials said the first explosion occurred at a plaza and was followed by another explosion two minutes later near the town’s municipal hall.

The attacks coincided with the town’s 37th founding anniversary and the 2nd Kestebeng Festival. Soldiers deployed in the area helped evacuate the wounded to the hospitals, said Army Lieutenant Kurt Decapia, of the 10th Infantry Division.

The military said an MK2 fragmentation grenade was used in the attacks. It said several witnesses saw two men lobbed the grenades.

Major General Reynaldo Mapagu, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, has ordered troops to hunt down the perpetrators.

“We mourn for the victims of this terrorist act. This is a clear manifestation of the terrorist aim of sowing fear and panic by means of bloodshed and destruction. We sympathize with the peace loving people of Sarangani and all the victims of these enemies of the state.”

“We condemn such acts and pray that the perpetrators may be enlightened so that we may walk towards progress unhampered,” Mapagu said.

The provincial governor Miguel Rene Dominguez also condemned the attacks.

“The twin grenade attacks in Maasim Saturday evening that took the life of one civilian and wounded 32 others have once again reared the ugly head of terror in the countryside. For whatever reason the perpetrators did the dastardly act, there is no justification whatsoever for any attack against civilians and communities wanting to live in peace,” he said.

He said the latest attack only unmask the diabolical motives of the group and persons behind the reprehensible incident. Last year, MILF rebels also attacked the town hall and killed and wounded several civilians.

“On the contrary, these acts of terror will only galvanize our resolve to protect our community and strengthen our unity. We will not be cowed into fear and submission. To them I say, spare the civilians. And you will have your day in court if not here, in some other places and time,” Dominguez said.

He also appealed to residents to stay vigilant. “Let not this incident drive us into our cocoons. Let this be the spark that will unite us all,” he said.

There was no immediate statement from the MILF, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group. (Mindanao Examiner)

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