One dead in Maguindanao explosion

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) — One person was killed following an explosion in Datu Piang, Maguindanao on Saturday afternoon.

The Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division confirmed on Sunday that one victim was critically injured and has died last night. Seven other people were harmed in the incident believed caused by an improvised explosive device (IED).

"Simula ng nagkaroon ng mga training ng mga IED-making dyan, ito na ‘yung signature dito sa Central Mindanao, ‘yung ganyang klaseng IED. So, tinitingnan natin ngayon signature ng mga locals dito sa paggawa ng IED, pero so far wala pang umamin ng...responsibility sa nangyari,” 6th ID spokesperson Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar told defense reporters.

[Translation: Since trainings on IED-making started there, it has become the signature in Central Mindanao, that kind of IED. So, we are looking at the signature of the locals here in making IEDs, but so far no one has claimed responsibility for what happened.]

According to the 6th ID, several motives are being considered, among them that the blast was a diversionary tactic by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Dawlah Islamiya, and that it could be election-related, noting that Datu Piang was an election hot spot.

Another reason mentioned by the 6th ID was that it could be a personal grudge against the LGBTQ community, as most of the victims were supposedly members of the community and had previously received death threats.

"We received reports from the ground na itong mga kabataan na naglalaro diyan na naging biktima, itong grupo nila naka-receive pala daw death threats weeks ago, kasi mga LGBT 'to, community. So, naka-receive sila ng threats weeks ago na kapag hindi daw sila...parang ganun kapag hindi sila magbago, bawal daw sa religion natin ‘yung ginagawa niyo," added Baldomar.

[Translation: We received reports from the ground that the youth who were victims, their group allegedly received death threats weeks ago because they were members of the LGBT community. They received threats weeks ago saying that if they didn't change, they would be in trouble as it was against their religion.]

On Sunday, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar ordered the Police Regional Office Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO BAR) to investigate the blast.

He ordered the regional police office to coordinate with local military forces to conduct a manhunt for the perpetrators and to intensify security in Maguindanao “as well as other areas where this kind of hostility could happen."