Cops pursue leads in failed Koronadal bomb attack

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Police are looking into a number of leads in the failed bomb attack at a department store along the main commercial area of Koronadal City on Saturday evening.

Supt. Marvin Duadua, spokesperson of the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office, said Monday investigators are currently studying the possible motives and identities of the suspects behind the incident.     

“We already have some leads but we’re also open to other possible angles that we can exploit,” Duadua said. He declined to provide details, however, to preempt ongoing investigation.

An improvised explosive device (IED) malfunctioned and set off prematurely at the baggage counter of Unitop General Merchandise-Koronadal branch along Osmena Street at around 8:25 p.m. Saturday.

The explosive, which was placed inside a backpack and sling bag, was reportedly left by a customer before the store closed at 8 p.m.

Responding personnel from the city police station and the South Cotabato police explosive ordnance disposal unit later detonated the IED.

As to the "signature" of the explosive, Duadua said they were still waiting for the report from the assigned composite investigation team. 

The official said investigators are coordinating with the store's personnel, especially the duty baggage attendant and security guard during the incident, to establish the identity of the person who left the backpack.

He said they have also requested copies of the closed-circuit television or CCTV camera footages of Unitop and nearby establishments.

Duadua said they are going through the required processes in obtaining the footages to avoid possible problems once they would be presented to the court later as evidence.

Aside from these, he said are also looking into the possible lapses of the establishment, especially those assigned at the baggage section.

"It should have been detected earlier through the mandatory inspection of the bag. But that did not happen so we really need to engage and re-educate the store's management and personnel about that," he said.    

The failed bomb attack happened as the city concluded on Saturday night the hosting of the week-long 2nd "Pyesta Kolon Datal: Koronadal International Folklore Festival." (PNA)