Sultan Kudarat blast caused by ''local terror group'': AFP
Lt. General Cirilito Sobejana, Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) chief, said the recent bombing of a public market in Sultan Kudarat was perpetrated by local terrorists.
“The perpetrator is from the local terror group,” Sobejana said in a message to the Daily Manila Shimbun on Sunday.
Sobejana said prior to the explosion the office of Isulan Mayor Marites Pallasigue received an extortion letter from a group linked to Daulah Islamiya Turaife Group (DITG).
“On September 2, the Office of Hon Pallasigue, Mayor of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat received extortion letter from a group claiming to be the "Al Irhab Group" demanding 250,000 pesos,” he said.
“Per verification, the extortionist is connected to the group of Salahuddin Hassan of the Daulah Islamiya Turaife Group (DITG). This group traces its roots from the Al Khobar group that Salahuddin Hassan is a former member,” he added.
Sobejana said based on the assessment of the military the “DITG's extortion activities indicate their dwindling resources and lack of popular support.”
“They just want to project strength despite several setbacks as a result of the relentless security operations launched by the government forces,” he said.
“Lately, the DITG suffered heavy losses in their manpower and firearms. Improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in public places among the terror group is a desperate move. Their intention is probably to continue gain international recognition for possible funding,” he added.
According to Sobejana, Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) said there were no unexploded ordnances found.
“Per SOCO investigation, there was no UXO ( unexploded ordnance) in the IED. It can be ammonium nitrate or black powder placed in a plastic container placed in a parked motorcycle,” he said.
Sobejana said eight persons were wounded because of the blast at the public market in Brgy Kalawag 3, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat.
“Out of the eight, only one is still in the hospital. The rest have gone home already,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS