Suspected rogue Muslim rebels on Wednesday night detonated a bomb in front of a Christian religious site in Kabacan town in North Cotabato while an attempt at another similar site Thursday morning was aborted by security forces, according to a military spokesman.
Maj. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the military's Eastern Mindanao Command, said on Thursday that the improvised bomb went off at around 09:40 p.m. local time in front of the Jehova's Witness church at Matalam street. The church is located at the back of the Pilot Elementary School.
No one was reported to be killed or injured in the attack, Cabangbang said, adding that this was the first time that a Catholic church was attacked by the suspected renegade rebels since the military offensive launched against them in August.
Cabangbang also said that police on Thursday morning disarmed another improvised bomb planted at the gate of a Catholic church in Segundo village. The team responded to the area after residents reported the bomb's presence.
"The team successfully recovered the IED (improvised explosive device) using remote removal through hook and line," he said, adding that the two incidents appear to be connected.
He said the military suspected that the rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were responsible for the attacks. The 12,000-member group renewed clashes with the government forces in August as an instrumental agreement paving way to the decade-long peace progress was suspended by the Supreme Court on the eve of signing.
The peace talks between the two sides have been on and off over the past few decades.