MARAWI CITY -- An Army trooper from the 65th Infantry Battalion and four civilians were wounded in an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion along the right roadside of Rorogagus village around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14.
Lieutenant Colonel Joselito Pastrana Commanding Officer of the 65th IB told SunStar Cagayan de Oro over the phone that five truckloads of first Scout Ranger Battalion from Iligan City with two other military vehicles as escorts led the convoy of 65th IB were en route to the 103rd Army Brigade.
Pastrana said based on the driver's account driving the lead vehicle, two IED with c-4 and blasting components like nails exploded almost simultaneously which hit the windshield and some parts of the vehicle. The blast also hit a passenger type motorcycle with sidecar loaded with three passengers.
Pastrana identified the wounded soldier as Sergeant Adrian Gaon who was injured in the head. The injured civilians identified as Fathma Nawira, 39 year-old public school teacher, Hafi Daluma ,11, Hasbea Daluma, 8, and Adatu Gulam, the driver who suffered most of the serious injuries were brought to Amai Pakpak Hospital.
"The motorcycle with sidecar ramped at the back of the lead military vehicle as an impact of the explosion", Pastrana said.
"We strongly condemn the perpetrators believed to be the handwork of Maute local terrorists group sympathizers responsible in the staging of atrocities,” said Pastrana.
This was the second incident of IED explosion. The first was a day before President Rodrigo Duterte's visit with operating troops at the Tactical Command Post in Nanagun, Lumbayanague in Lanao del Sur which wounded seven members of the Presidential Security Guards and two other army troopers.
READ: 7 PSG members, 2 soldiers wounded in Marawi roadside blast
“This is a desperate move of Maute group that suffered heavy casualties in an on-going military offensive operations in Butig at dinamay na pati civilians. The operating troops have overrun and occupied one of the Maute encampments in the firestal area of Sandab, Butig recently,” Pastrana said.
Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said that “while we totally support the war on terror, I directed the City Police Office to conduct a thorough investigation of the alleged IED explosion.”
“The initial police report based on victims testimony in the hospital na nabunggo sila sa green truck at biglang may pumutok,” said Gandamra.
Gandamra directed the police to collate the pieces of information based on investigation and come up with a comprehensive validated report.
Pastrana said there were shrapnel and fragments of IED recovered at the crime scene by the military Explosive Ordnance and Disposal team while pieces of evidence were brought to the Crime laboratory for examination at the provincial police office.
"The military is the prime target of IED planted along the roadside en route to Marawi City," Pastrana said.
An emergency peace and order meeting was held at the City Hall with the Department of Interior and Local Government Officer and Marawi City mayor's representative and some officials of villages Rorogagus, Emi, Matampay, and nearby villages since the two incidents of IED explosion took place almost at the same areas, said Pastrana.