Monday, August 12, 2013

Homemade bombs, cellphones found in Cotabato garbage dump a week after explosion kills 8

From InterAksyon (Aug 12): Homemade bombs, cellphones found in Cotabato garbage dump a week after explosion kills 8

Three mortars meant to be used as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and three Nokia cellphones were found by scavengers in a garbage dump near City Hall on Sunday night.

The explosive package was in a box that was placed inside in a cellophane bag, authorities said, citing a scavenger whose identity was withheld owing to security reasons.

The scavengers were waiting for a truck to dump garbage when a whitebag caught their attention, prompting them to open it immediately, Police Bomb Technician PO2 Reynaldo Bayal said.

"May nakabalot ng scotch tape sa loob ng cellophane sa bag," one of the scavengers said. "Parang box na maliit…may matulis…may mga wire...may mga cellphone na 3310…tatlo." (A box inside the cellophane was wrapped in scotch tape. The box contained wire, objects with pointed edges, and three Nokia 3310 cellphones.)

Meanwhile, the mortar shells were connected to a blasting cap but the wires was not yet attached to the cellphone, Bayal said.

The Explosive Ordnace Disposal Team from the police and army immediately went to the area where the bombs were found but it took them hours to proceed due to security reasons.

"May inserted na blasting cap na puwede makapagpasabog sa kanilang tatlo," Bayal said. "Pero yung blasting cap kahit na masunog lang puwede siya mag-initiate kasi sensitive yung blasting cap, our assessment hindi pa siya fully assembled." (One blasting cap that was inserted into the whole assembly could have ignited all three mortars. Since the blasting cap is sensitive, if it gets ignited, all three mortars could explode. Our assessment is that the package was not fully assembled.)

Authorities are not discounting that the explosives found were meant for pick-up by some who are experts in assembling IEDs except that the arrival of the garbage truck unintentionally collected the mortars somewhere else, Bayal said.

"We are also investigating deeper on these new wave of bombing attempts," he said.
In a statement, Cotabato City Administrator Atty. Cynthia Guiani Sayadi called for residents to be vigilant.

For his part, City police director Senior Superintedent Rolen Balquin immediately called a command conference on Monday to further discuss strengthening security in the metro.

"Let's help our authorities to report any untoward movement behind thesebombings," Balquin said.

Cotabato has declared a month-long mourning to show sympathy to thefamilies of those who perished in the August 5 car bomb attack that claimedeight lives and wounded about 30 others.

The bomb went off in the busy district of Sinsuat Avenue and allegedly was planned for the convoy of city administrator Atty. Cynthia Sayadi-Guaini, sister of City Mayor Japal Guiani.

Both of the former and latter admitted they have received death threatsfrom kidnapping and drug syndicates.

In 2007, a garbage collector died and a fellow was wounded when theyaccidentally collected an unexploded IED.

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