SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao — In an apparent diversionary tactic, authorities believe an outlawed armed group with links to Islamic State (IS) fired a rocket propelled grenade toward a private school in Datu Piang, Maguindanao Sunday night.
According to Sr. Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director, nobody was injured in the grenade attack, that happened around 8 p.m. at Gani L. Abpi College compound in Barangay Buayan.
The blast damaged glass panes and a vehicle parked near the building. No one has claimed responsibility but police and military authorities believed the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) which pledge allegiance to the IS was behind the attack as diversionary tactic.
Almost at the same time, unidentified men tossed a hand grenade toward the house of business couple Hayder and Samra Manibpal in Barangay Inug-og, Pikit, North Cotabato.
Sr. Insp. Rolly Castañares, Pikit town police chief, said no casualty was reported in the incident. Investigators could not say if the grenade attack in Pikit and Datu Piang were related.
On Saturday night, BIFF hurled a grenade toward a detachment of the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Timbangan in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.
Capt. Arvin John Encinas, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said a soldier was slightly wounded in the blast.
The military has claimed foreign fighters have been sighted with the BIFF Abu Toraife faction now holed up in borders of Aleosan and Carmen, both in North Cotabato.
Lt. Colonel Gerry Besana, chief of 6th Civil Military Operations (CMO), said the target of a series of air strikes since last week in North Cotabato have been hiding in caves in the mountain village of Tonganon, Aleosan.
He said the operation was well coordinated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed a peace deal with government.
Under the ceasefire accord, the MILF is to provide information and assistance to government forces in flushing terrorists and lawless elements in its area of operation.
The twin operations in Maguindanao and North Cotabato was carried out after one BIFF faction harassed 57th IB in Shariff Aguak and Datu Unsay towns in Maguindanao.
While there are no civilian casualties, the air strikes sent some 5,000 persons in two provinces fleeing to safer grounds. Edwin Fernandez/PNA-northboundasia.com