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Police official hints Cotabato blasts link to terrorism

Breaking News • 21:58 PM Mon Nov 16, 2015
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By: 
Malu Manar
Downtown Kabacan, North Cotabato. (kabacancaptions.wordpress.com)

KIDAPAWAN CITY -Authorities are looking at possibilities that the latest atrocities in North Cotabato were part of a terror plot out to sow fear and apprehension among the residents. Senior Superintendent Alex Tagum, provincial director of the Cotabato Police Provincial Office (CPPO), said the three grenade throwing incidents in Kabacan town last week were part of a design dubbed as, Violence for Effect”, spearheaded by lawless elements and armed groups operating in the province. Meantime, authorities also consider the latest blasts as politically-motivated so to discredit the current leadership in Kabacan town.Kabacan municipal mayor Herlo Guzman, known anti-drug advocate, is seeking re-election in 2016. This, however, has yet to be validated by conducting a deeper probe. On Thursday, a grenade was lobbed by still unidentified suspects onboard a motorcycle along the national highway in Kabacan that resulted to the wounding of a four-year old girl. Two days after, another fragmentation grenade went off in a busy street, also in Kabacan, which wounded five residents, one of them a traffic enforcer manning the highway. On Sunday, another grenade blasted just in front of a gasoline station located along Poblacion, Kabacan.Although no one was hurt but residents panicked because of the loud blast it created. If the latest blasts were connected to global terror acts, Tagum said they have yet to dig deeper their probe, in particular, the group behind the explosions. It was reported that some of the lawless groups operating in Central Mindanao are connected to the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS), the group that claimed responsibility to the latest Paris suicide bombing that killed several people. With this, Tagum has immediately ordered the reactivation of Task Force Kabacan to ensure order, security, and safety of the residents. The task force is composed of elements from the CPPO, Special Action Forces, Public Safety Battalion, Philippine Army, and Kabacan municipal police station.

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