Terror in Philippines: At least 2 murdered, 30 wounded in bomb blast at mall on New Year’s Eve
Muslim terrorists remotely detonated a bomb near the entrance of a mall in the southern Philippines on Monday as people did last-minute shopping ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations, murdering at least two and wounding nearly 30, officials said.
The bomb went off near the baggage counter at the entrance of the South Seas mall in Cotabato city, wounding shoppers, vendors, and commuters.
Authorities recovered another unexploded bomb nearby as government forces imposed a security lockdown in the city, military and police officials said.
Cotabato Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi condemned the bombing and called on residents to help fight terrorism.
“This is not just another terroristic act but an act against humanity. I cannot fathom how such evil exists in this time of merrymaking,” she said.
“It is unimaginable how some people can start the new year with an act of cruelty but no matter how you threaten us, the people of Cotabato are resilient. … We will stand up against terrorism,” she told reporters.
Major General Cirilito Sobejana said by phone that an initial investigation showed the design of the bomb was similar to those used in the past by local terrorists who have pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Government forces launched an offensive against the terrorists belonging to a terror group called Daulah Islamiyah last week and at least seven of the terrorists were eliminated in the fighting, Sobejana said.
“This is a part of the retaliation, but the problem is they’re victimizing innocent civilians,” he told reporters.
Hundreds of Muslim terrorists aligned with ISIS laid siege in the southern city of Marawi in May last year, sparking five months of intense fighting and military airstrikes that left more than 1,100 mostly terrorists eliminated and displaced hundreds of thousands of villagers.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed the southern third of the country under martial law to deal with the Marawi siege, the worst security crisis he has faced since taking office in mid-2016.