A deadly explosion rocked a mall in Cotabato City killing two people and injuring 32 others, some of whom were children, as residents were set to celebrate New Year's Eve on Monday, December 31.
An unidentified man dropped a wrapped box in the area shortly before the explosion, the police said, adding that another unexploded IED was recovered from the site.
Scattered debris including items traditionally sold for New Year celebrations such as cardboard horns and gifts, as well as a bloody slipper, lay at the entrance to the South Seas Mall where the explosion took place.More news: Aubameyang, Mane, Salah make top three — CAF Awards
Government forces launched an offensive against the militants belonging to a group called Daulah Islamiyah last week and at least seven of the militants died in the fighting, Sobejana said.
Durana said the safety and security of the people in Mindanao are better now due to the signed peace agreements with Moro National Liberation Front and recently the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that brought, despite some challenges, more stability and more positive economic outlook in the region. We appeal to the public to remain calm but watchful and to immediately report to authorities (PRO12 Hotline Numbers: "09219898174; 09266500628) any information that may lead us to the suspects and help us crack this case", PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said in a statement late Monday.
According to Durana, the improvised explosive device used in the blast is similar to the signature composition of explosives being used by ISIS-inspired local terrorist groups. The Armed Forces of the Philippines put the city on lockdown.More news: Six people are killed in rail crash during a storm in Denmark
The Philippine Army's 6th Infantry Division Commander Maj.
Cotabato residents are no strangers to IED attacks, having witnessed more than a dozen in the past decade, all blamed on the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which operates much like ISIS, the news outlet reported.
"This is a part of the retaliation, but the problem is they're victimising innocent civilians", he added.More news: Cyclone Penny expected over New Year's Eve in Far North Queensland
"Terrorism, extremism and terror attacks coming from these extremist groups a lot of them are ISIS and Daesh inspired".