Explosion rocks Maguindanao town

COTABATO CITY – A powerful explosion rocked the town of Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao on Friday night, creating panic among its residents.

Mayor Marop Ampatuan said the explosion took place around 8 p.m. at the back portion of the town hall near the local police station. No one was hurt in the blast but damaged some structures nearby.

“Members of the police’s explosive ordnance disposal team are still trying to determine as to what type of bomb caused the explosion,” Ampatuan told the Philippine News Agency.

The mayor said he earlier received information that Daesh-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) are out to “rescue” a cohort, identified only as a certain alias “Koreano”, who is detained at the municipal police lock-up facility.

“This ‘Koreano’, a high-profile criminal, ought to be transferred to the Maguindanao provincial jail as his BIFF accomplices seemed determined to bolt him out,” Ampatuan said.

“The local government remains on top of the situation,” he said, adding that town residents should remain calm and vigilant.

He urged residents to report to authorities whatever they see suspicious in their respective barangays.

“Suspicious-looking characters roaming around villages should immediately be reported to the police,” he said.

Checkpoints along strategic sections of the town have been set up since Friday night following the blast. (PNA)