PNP suspects ISIS-inspired local terror group behind Cotabato blast

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Tuesday, January 1, that it suspected a local terror group inspired by ISIS (Islamic State) had a hand in the New Year’s eve blast in Cotabato that killed 2 people, even as it revealed it prevented a second bomb from exploding that day.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr said on radio station dzBB they found a second improvised explosive device (IED) inside the South Seas Mall but police bomb experts were able to defuse it.

“They were able to render safe another IED sa loob mismo ng South Mall sa Cotabato City at nakita naman natin the IED was actually designed to kill and maim a lot of individuals,” Durana said.

(They were able to render safe another IED inside the South Mall in Cotabato City and we saw that the IED was actually designed to kill and maim a lot of individuals.)

The first IED exploded 1:49 pm outside the South Seas Mall complex, killing two people and injuring 34 others, some of whom were children.

BOMB. Police investigate the area outside the  South Seas Mall in Cotabato City where a bomb exploded on December 31, 2018.

BOMB. Police investigate the area outside the South Seas Mall in Cotabato City where a bomb exploded on December 31, 2018.

“Our investigators have initially found as a result of the post-blast investigation na ito po ay kagagawan ng (that this was the doing of a) local terrorist group, ISIS-inspired local terrorist group,” said Durana. 

Durana added they are still looking at all possible angles aside from ISIS-inspired terrorism.

“Terrorism, extremism and terror attacks coming from these extremist groups, most of them are ISIS and Daesh inspired, Maute group, the local ISIS-inspired elements of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) etc,” Durana said.

PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde formed Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to look into the Cotabato bombing.

“We are following a lot of leads para po matukoy natin yung mga (for us to identify the) perpetrators, the individuals so that we can arrest them as soon as possible and we can crack this case as soon as possible,” said Durana. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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