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2 injured in Sultan Kudarat IED blast

Two persons were injured by an improvised explosive device that exploded in front of a church in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat yesterday.

Capt. Arvin Encinas, chief of the Army 6th Infantry Division-Public Affairs Office, said the victims were outside the packed Our Lady of Hope Parish Church in Barangay Saliao when the explosion occurred at about 6:40 a.m. The victims who were unidentified were taken to a hospital.

No group has claimed responsibility for the incident.

Police and military are determining if the Islamist militant organization Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters is involved in the explosion.

Encinas said government troops immediately arrived after the incident and inspected the blast site. Troops from the Army 57th Infantry Battalion secured the vicinity of the church and cordoned off the blast site.

Encinas said mobile patrol operations are also being conducted in Poblacion, Esperanza as part of the stepped up security measures in the area.

He added that the intelligence section of the Army 57th IB conducted area monitoring to determine the possible perpetrators. (Francis T. Wakefield and Malu Cadelina Manar)