1 soldier slain, 3 civilians wounded by IEDs in Maguindanao

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Army soldiers patrol in a forest in Maguindanao. (photo by Dennis Arcon, InterAksyon)

COTABATO CITY Philippines — A soldier was killed and three civilians, including a child, were wounded in separate bombings in the towns of Datu Hoffer and Datu Unsay, Maguindanao on Tuesday, authorities said.

The civilians, including a 10-year old child, were hurt in the first blast, which happened around 6 a.m. on the Decalungan Bridge in Datu Hoffer.

Private First Class Ian Celeste of the 57th Infantry Battalion, on the other hand, was involved in a clearing operation on the highway in Barangay Maitumaig in Datu Unsay when the second improvised explosive device was detonated past 8 a.m., killing him instantly.

Colonel Gerry Besana, spokesman of the Army’s Task Force Central, said military detachments have also been constantly harassed by gunmen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, who are believed to be behind the IED blasts as well.

The municipal peace and order councils of the two towns and of Datu Saudi convened a joint meeting with the military and police following the blasts.

On Wednesday, Governor Esmael Mangudadatu is scheduled to preside over a provincial peace and order council meeting to discuss the continued bombings and violence that earlier prompted a state of calamity to be declared in Datu Unsay.