The city government assured on Monday that the city’s peace and order situation remains under control in the wake of the bomb attack near a lying-in clinic along the national highway here before noon Sunday, which injured eight people wounded.
Mayor Ronnel Rivera, who convened the city’s peace and order council Monday, said local law enforcement units were on top of the situation and exerting all efforts to resolve the case.
Rivera strongly condemned the incident, saying local officials “did not expect that somebody would do this to our city. Our police operatives are finding ways to track down the suspects because we have witnesses.”
The improvised explosive device (IED) went off at around 11:50 a.m. in front of the Vic Bonita Lying-in Clinic in Makar junction, Barangay Apopong.
Eight bystanders and customers of an eatery located beside the clinic sustained “non-critical” injuries as a result of the blast.
Witnesses said two unidentified persons, who came aboard a motorcycle, were seen leaving a bag at the scene minutes before the explosion.
Citing an initial report from the city police’s explosives and ordnance disposal unit, Rivera said the IED was an “improvised pipe bomb” that was packed with nails as shrapnel.
He declined to speculate on the possible motive and the suspects, saying he would wait for the results of the on-going investigation.
He said investigators are trying to determine whether the explosion was an isolated case or connected with the recent attacks in other areas.
He was referring to the August 28 and September 2 bombings in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, which killed five people and injured more than 40 others. Both incidents were blamed by authorities on alleged terror cells of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
“If this was isolated, it’s also possible that somebody just wanted to act like a terrorist and sow fear among the people,” he said.
The entire city was placed by authorities under “Alert Level 4” following the bomb explosion. Under the alert status, checkpoints manned by the city police and the Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan were doubled in all entry and exit points in the area.
Additional police personnel were deployed in public areas and villages along the city’s coastlines, said city police director Senior Supt. Raul Supiter. (PNA)