From GMA News (Jan 2): Mayor accuses BIFF as group behind Cotabato blast
Mlang town Mayor Joselito Pinol has accused the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter as the group behind the recent blast at the entrance of the public market that killed two people and injured 33 other innocent individuals on News Year's Eve.
"I have concrete [pieces] of evidence that could pinpoint the BIFF was behind the blasts that happened in the town...,” Pinol said.
But in text message to reporters, Abu Misry Mama, BIFF spokesperson denied the mayor's allegations.
“We don’t have hand on it but we know where the bomb came from,” said Mama in another text message.
An initial investigation indicated an improvised explosive device (IED) was used in the attack.
Police have taken into custody at least one person who they suspect may have been behind the explosion.
The person, who was not named, is also being probed for a similar explosion in Mlang last November.
But Cotabato provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Danilo Peralta told dzBB radio early Friday did not comment on reports suggesting BIFF members were behind the attack.
However, Mayor Pinol said the suspected bomber arrested in Mlang on Tuesday afternoon, identified as Abdul Aziz Glang was a member of the Alkhobar group and allegedly affiliated with the BIFF group.
He said Glang was arrested due to his alleged participation in the November 23 blast that took place at the billiard hall near the town plaza, which killed three teenagers and hurt 24 others.
Pinol is also considering the possibility the attack in the marketplace could be in retaliation of the arrest of the BIFF member.
“We are looking into that angle but we have other angles too,” Pinol added.
The mayor also denied allegations that there was no presence of police operatives in the public market.
“We have roving policemen. We even sanitized the area with our K9 team,” Pinol stressed.
“Though we accept that there were lapses in our security. Kay kung walang lapses hindi sana tayo na bomba,” He said over dxND Radyo Bida in Kidapawan City.
The mayor said this year the LGU will invest more in security measures to ensure that no more bombings will happen in Mlang.
Pinol expressed dismay on the national government for not sending a team to conduct an investigation on the twin blasts that hit the town in 2014.
“We call on the national government to act on our concern by sending a special team to look into this matter,” Mayor Pinol said.