By Edwin Fernandez
MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato: Police and military forces here have been placed on heightened alert after a foiled bombing attempt on Thursday evening.
Additional checkpoints have also been set up around town and plainclothes police personnel have been deployed with police force multipliers serving as front-liners.
Lt. Col. Rolly Oranza, Midsayap town police chief, said the improvised explosive device (IED) was safely deactivated by members of the joint police and Army bomb disposal unit at past 7 p.m.
“It was a powerful IED. Clearly, it was meant to harm and kill people,” Oranza said in an interview here Friday morning.
Investigation disclosed that two men aboard a motorbike arrived along Roosevelt Street in Barangay Poblacion 3, particularly on the road between the town police office and the Bureau of Fire Protection station, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Images from a closed-circuit security camera showed that one of the two men alighted from the motorbike and placed a pink bag near the garbage bin along the sidewalk and hurriedly left.
Fire officers on duty noticed the two and alerted the police and bomb experts.
“Members of the police and military explosive ordnance unit are still trying to determine the components of the bomb as it is tightly wrapped in tape. It has black powder though and small batteries as part of the trigger mechanism,” Oranza said.
The bombing try came three days after three tricycle drivers were killed by still unidentified gunmen in Midsayap.
Police are still determining if the two incidents are related.
Oranza said the IED was similar to those used by outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) operating in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.
He also appealed to the people of Midsayap to remain vigilant and to alert the police and village officials if they notice suspicious individuals or packages near them.
(Philippine News Agency)