SOLDIERS from the Army’s Explosive Ordnance Detection (EOD) unit foiled an attempt to bomb the National Power Corporation’s Agus 1 Hydro-electric power plant around 6 a.m., Saturday, October 22, in Marawi City.
The improvised explosive device (IED), an 81 millimeter mortar round connected to a radio transceiver with wires and concealed in small black bag, was left below a steel iron post of the plant’s front gate.
Police Senior Inspector Epream Paguyod, chief of the Regional Police Safety Battalion (RPSB) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said around 8:30 p.m. on October 21, unidentified armed men also lobbed a grenade at the gate of Agus 1 but no one was hurt during the incident.
The grenade’s safety lever was recovered at the crime scene.
Paguyod said a policeman checking the front gate on the morning of October 22 found the black bag containing the IED and relayed the information to the EOD and the military troops of 65th Infantry Battalion (IB) stationed at the 103rd Brigade in Kampo Ranao.
Paguyod said he believed the series of incidents could be an offshoot of the continuing anti-drug campaign.
The Maute terrorists group may also be responsible, Paguyod said, adding the foiled bombing attempt may have been a test mission of the group’s newly trained recruits.
“We will not tolerate this kinds of activities that may affect the peace and order situation of Marawi City and some other towns in Lanao del Sur,”Paguyod said.
Colonel Joselito Pastarana, commanding officer of the 65th IB, said the two incidents may be perpetuated by the Maute group as an offensive move against the military and Philippine National Police personnel of the RPSB in Marawi City.
“As of the moment, we are on the heightened alert status. I have directed my men, particularly in patrol bases and checkpoints, to be more vigilant,” Pastarana said.