THE Police Regional Office 12 headed by Brigadier General Eliseo T. Rasco yesterday condemned a bomb attack in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat blamed on a group of extortionists which wounded 18 innocent victims on Wednesday afternoon.
“We condemn in the strongest possible term the bombing of the Carlito’s Chicken House which took place at about 3:15 p.m. last Wednesday in the municipality of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. Right now, we believe that the motive behind this incident is extortion,” said the PRO12 director.
Rasco said that seven of the 18 victims have been discharged from the hospital after undergoing treatment while 11 are still under confinement.
“We are looking at a group called Dawlah Islamiyah Terror Group as the suspects behind the bombing. Rght now, we believe it was a bombing triggered by the failure of the restaurant owner to heed the group’s extortion demand,” the official said.
Rasco said that they discovered that last week, the owner of the restaurant received several text messages from a group which introduced themselves as ‘Al Irhab’ demanding that they be given money or they will target the establishment.
“But based on the bomb signature, intelligence reports and statement of the owner, we believe it was the handiwork of the DITG,” he said. The same group engaged in extortion has been blamed for a number of terror bombings in Mindanao as well as some foiled attempts to bomb soft targets including malls and markets in the region in the past.
The official said all efforts are now underway to identify and arrest the suspects who planted the powerful improvised explosive device at the packed restaurant. Police and military troops have also tightened their security measures in Isulan and nearby municipalities and provinces in the aftermath of the explosion.
Rasco ordered the creation of Special Investigation Task Group Carlito to lead the investigation of the case and the hunt for the bombers. He also advised the public to remain extra-vigilant and be mindful of unattended belongings in their area.