KORONADAL CITY—At least four children were injured in an explosion at the public market in Barangay Lamian in Surallah, South Cotabato around 5 p.m. on Thursday, police said yesterday.
Supt. Robert Kiunisala, South Cotabato police director, said the explosion was caused by a rifle grenade, which a group of children had earlier found in a garbage bin.
“After they found the grenade, they went to the public market, which is already empty at that time,” he said.
Kiunisala said the children, aged 7 to 9 years old, toyed with the grenade until it accidentally fell and went off.
He identified the victims as Edna Español, 7; Erap Tupas, 8; El-el Maribao, 9 and year-old Jona Jasper Brazil, all children of market vendors.
The four children were rushed to the hospital for shrapnel wounds but Kiunisala could not say if any of them was in serious condition.
He said they were investigating who placed the explosive in the garbage bin and what the motive could be.
Last month, a car bomb was left in the middle of a busy street in Surallah.
The car bomb, blamed on the Jemaah Islamiyah, was later disarmed by government bomb experts with the help of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents participating in the RP-US military exercises in Central Mindanao.
In Digos City, police authorities said they have already filed murder charges against a suspect in the June 15 explosion aboard a Weena bus in Bansalan, Davao del Sur.
The explosion killed eight people and wounded more than a dozen others.
Chief Insp. Royina Garma, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), identified the suspect as Abdul Ahad alias Rodel Abadia, a resident of Pagalungan, Maguindanao.
He said Ahad, who belongs to the Alkobar extortion gang, was positively identified by his neighbors through the artist’s sketch produced by the police from description of witnesses.
Ahad was also the subject of an earlier arrest order for allegedly extorting money from the bus firm in 1999.
Earlier in San Fernando City in La Union, a homemade bomb exploded at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, wounding a bystander, police said.
Investigators said the bomb was placed in a garbage can on Tavera and Burgos Streets in San Fernando.
The bystander, Lito Aragon, was hit by shrapnels sprayed by the bomb.
He was taken to the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in the city and was declared out of danger. Police are investigating the incident. Jeoffrey Maitem, Eldie S. Aguirre and Orlando Dinoy, Inquirer Mindanao and Hanna Lacsamana, Inquirer Northern Luzon