2 hurt in IED blast in front of church in Sultan Kudarat

ESPERANZA, Sultan Kudarat — Police and military authorities have launched a manhunt against suspects who detonated an improvised bomb in front of a Catholic church here Sunday morning.

“Manhunt is going on, we are following up a lead,” Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr, speaking for police in Central Mindanao region, told the Philippine News Agency.

Two persons were injured in the blast that came at 6:40 a.m. as churchgoers were emerging from the just concluded the first Sunday of Advent mass at Our Lady of Hope Church in Barangay Zaliao here.

“It was a cellphone detonated IED (improvised explosive device),” Galgo said.

Mayor Helen Latog of Esperanza quickly activated the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) to attend to wounded victims.

“The church goers were lucky that a car was parked across the main entrance to fetch someone,” Latog said in a phone interview.

She said the car served as blocking object but two of its passengers were hurt. Identities of the victims are not yet available as of posting.

Galgo said police and Army bomb experts are still on site conducting post blast investigation.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack.

A police intelligence officer said it could be a diversionary tactic as the military launched air and ground assaults against Maute terrorist group in Lanao del Sur.

Army and police have launched offensives against the Lanao based terrorist group who occupied the town of Butig. The town are now in government hands. PNA-northboundasia.com