Soldiers man a checkpoint on a highway in Maguindanao province, where two bombs went off in front of the abandoned capitol in the capital Shariff Aguak Sunday, the day elected officials of the province took their oaths of office. The first of the explosions wounded two soldiers and a civilian woman. (photo by Dennis Arcon, News5)
Notwithstanding tight security, two soldiers and a civilian woman were wounded in one of two explosions that rocked Shariff Aguak, capital town of Maguindanao province, on Sunday, the day elected officials of the province took their oaths of office.
The first explosion happened in front of the abandoned provincial capitol, now used as the base of the Army’s 1st Mechanized Brigade, around 9:30 a.m. just as the convoy of 603rd Brigade commander, Colonel Manolito Orense, who was on his way to attend the mass oath-taking of the province’s officials, passed by.
The blast wounded one of Orense’s men, Corporal Reynaldo Sotto, a Marine who was passing the place on a motorcycle but whose name was not immediately available, and Fatima Kunakon, 35, who was walking by.
Orense said his vehicle had just driven past the spot where the improvised explosive device was planted when it went off, hitting the vehicle his escorts were in.
Colonel Manolito Orense (video by Dennis Arcon, News5)
Although authorities have yet to determine the perpetrators and their motives, they believe the explosives were meant for the military.
Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu condemned the incidents, which he said appeared to have been timed for their oath taking.
Security forces, backed by armor, have turned out in force on the highways of the province in the wake of the blasts.
Soldiers, backed up by an armored personnel carrier, guard a highway in Maguindanao province. (video by Dennis Arcon, News5)