On Wednesday, Two bomb explosions killed 5 and injured 34 people when they were watching a boxing competition at the town plaza in a central Philippine town as part of an annual Roman Catholic holiday festival.
Leyte police provincial director Supt. Franco Simborio said that around 9 pm an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded and an 81-millimetre mortar round was detonated remotely by cell phone in the second attack but was in “low order” or did not completely explode, during the amateur bout outside a shopping mall in Leyte province late on Wednesday. The second bomb exploded after 30 seconds after the first one.
“The two bombs used had a strong magnitude that may have killed a lot of people when exploded at the same time,” said Simborio, who was at the crime scene few hours after the incident.
The plaza packed with about 500 audiences, was just across the municipal hall and local police station. The boxing event is part of the town’s fiesta celebration.
Police said no suspects had been identified and no group had claimed responsibility. But Simborio believed that the bombing could be an act of retaliation from an arrested drug suspect.
Mayor Alberto Villahermosa said, “We didn’t expect this. There was no bomb threat prior to this incident. We were caught by surprise when this happened since we are a peace loving town.”
The mayor also believed that this could be retaliation of their campaign against criminality, resulting to the arrest of Muslims involved in car theft, illegal drugs and production of fake money.
The president spokesperson, Ernesto Abella, said that an investigation was launched into the attack. He said, “As of the moment, initial but unofficial news feed state that there were no (intelligence) reports of bomb threats, nor has anybody claimed responsibility for the bombing.”
While some of the injured went home after treatment of their injuries, most of the other injured have been confined at the Hilongos District Hospital and Leyte Baptist Hospital.
At least four victims were referred to the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) in Tacloban City and one to the Living Hope Hospital in Maasin City in Southern Leyte.
Most of the victims suffered foot injuries. The victims include 10 children aged 7 to 15 years and a pregnant woman who is being treated at the local hospital due to minor injuries.
The police have been reviewing the recorded CCTV footage for possible identification of the suspect. Follow up investigation is still ongoing.