COTABATO CITY—Authorities recovered a motorcycle seen used by a riding in tandem, who threw grenades at the Talayan Mosque in Maguindanao, wounding a former mayor and eight other worshippers emerging from a Friday noon Muslim congregation.
Police said former Talayan mayor Hadji Ali Midtimbang was rushed to a hospital in Central Mindanao, along with his son Nathaniel Midtimbang, also mayor of neighboring Datu Anggal town. Both were treated for shrapnel wounds.
Authorities have yet to establish possible motives, and as to whether the Friday explosion on Talayan’s Golden Mosque could be deemed a terror attack.
Also injured were eight others, two of them seriously. Police identified some of those wounded as Anang Mupak, Sandy Aron, Manap Balaumol and three others named only as Kasim, Marcos and Makaanga.
Senior Superintendent Agustin Tello, Maguindanao Police Office director, said the attackers fled on two motorcycles, one of which was recovered later along the national highway.
Midtimbang, who had served as mayor of Talayan, sustained multiple shrapnel wounds in both legs.
Talayan Mayor Tungkang Midtimbang said there was not only one but two grenades were thrown at a large group of people as they, including his father Hadji Ali, walked their way out at the mosque’s plaza. Luckily, he said, the other grenade did not explode.
Residents who pursued the attackers, said two of the four men abandoned their motorcycle, and that a white Toyota Innova with no service plate fetched the two.
Relatives of the victims said Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, had both officials airlifted to Davao City for a better secured environment and advanced medical treatment.
They said Hataman had personally instructed ARMM police director, Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, to push further investigation on the grenade attack.
In the past weeks, authorities have defused explosive devices believed planted roadside by extremists along the Cotabato-Isulan Highway.