Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Soldier dies, another hurt in grenade blast in North Cotabato

KIDAPAWAN CITY – A member of the 7th Infantry Battalion of the Army was killed and another was seriously injured when unidentified motorcycle-riding men threw a grenade at them on Wednesday evening.

The victims were reportedly manning the checkpoint along the highway in Kabacan, North Cotabato, at around 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday when the incident happened.

Authorities identified the slain soldier as Cpl. Rey Osoteo and the injured was Pfc. Dionisio Malik. Both were members of the 7th IB assigned in Barangay Osias, Kabacan.

Lt. Col. Domingo Gubuay, commander of the 7th IB, said his men were manning the checkpoint along Kabacan-Pikit highway when the suspects, onboard a motorcycle, tossed the grenade and fired shots toward their posts.

Osoteo died on the spot while Malik was rushed to the nearby Kidapawan Medical Specialist Hospital for treatment.

Gubuay suspected that the group behind the grenade blast was a lawless gang operating in Kabacan town and other nearby areas in North Cotabato. 

“They knew, from the start, that the outposts we built along the highway had hampered their illegal activities. So to demobilize our teams, they attacked our men manning the routes, which could be their entry or exit points," said Gubuay.

The Army started putting up road blocks and outposts along the Kabacan-Pikit highway in October after the bloody bus blast in Matalam town that killed 11 passengers and wounded several others.

The attack at the Army outpost in Barangay Osias on Wednesday was the second attack in Kabacan town since last week.

On December 24, a bag containing an improvised explosive device fashioned from an 81-millimeter mortar was discovered by a utility worker at a bus terminal in Poblacion, Kabacan. 

The bomb, according to Kabacan police director, Supt. Joseph Semillano, “was aimed at creating chaos while many were busy preparing for the long holiday break."

The Al Khobar group was suspected to be behind the attacks, reports said. – VVP, GMANews.TV

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