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Task force formed to probe Cotabato bombing

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has created a special investigation task group (SITG) to investigate the bombing attack in front of a mall in Cotabato City that left two persons dead and 34 others injured Monday.

Police Director General Oscar D. Albayalde on a press statement today, May 23, 2018 regarding on the murder case of PO3 Don Carlo DC Magui happened 2 days ago, suspect identified as Crispin P. Corpin at Camp Crame, Quezon City. (Kevin Tristan Espiritu)

Police Director General Oscar D. Albayalde 

Of the 34 injured, three will have to undergo medical operations due to the severity of their condition; seven are still confined in hospitals but are already out of danger; while 24 others have been released.
PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde condemned the bomb attack in front of South Seas Mall along Magallanes Street, Barangay Poblacion which investigators said were likely perpetrated by Islamic State (ISIS)-inspired local terrorist groups in Mindanao.
“We sincerely express our deep sympathy and offer our fervent prayers to the families of those killed and injured even as we vow to mobilize all available resources in order to quickly bring to the bars of justice those responsible for these cowardly attacks against innocent civilians,” Albayalde said.
“I have immediately directed the creation of a special investigation task group to get into the bottom of this incident,” he added.
In a radio interview Tuesday, Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr., PNP spokesman, said that bomb experts raised the possibility that the improvised explosive device (IED) used in the attack was created by a local terrorist group.
“Mayroon po kaming mga tinitignan but based on the modus operandi and signature [of the IED], our investigators have initially found as a result of the post blast investigation na ito po ay kagagawan ng local terrorist group, ISIS-inspired local terrorist group,” he said.
According to initial results of the post blast investigation conducted by Cotabato police’s Explosive and Ordnance Division (EOD), a white plastic gallon believed to be used by the suspect as the container of the IED was found at the crime scene.
Police said the plastic gallon contained a kilo of one-inch concrete nails which were used as an enhancement, and black powder used as a low explosive charge.
A still unidentified man was seen dropping the container amid rows of stalls in front of the mall before it exploded, police added.
After the explosion, another IED was found at the baggage counter of the mall located at the second floor.
It was successfully defused by bomb experts who recovered several 1/2 inch nails and metal ball bearings as enhancement, disintegrated 9-volt batteries, slide switch, improvised blasting cap, leg wires and LED.
However, Durana is not ruling out other suspects.
“We are casting a wider net so that we will not be missing some areas that are usually [being missed] if you focus on only one angle,” he said.
“We narrowed down the investigation but the SITG created by the PNP based on Director General Albayalde’s directive are following a lot of leads to identify the perpetrators and arrest them, and crack this case as soon as possible,” he said.