AFTERMATH. The scene at the blast site after the Sept. 7, 2019 bombing that left eight persons injured in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. (Photo courtesy of Isulan MPS)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – The military here has pointed to the Abu Turaife faction of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters as the group behind the September 7 bombing in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat that injured eight persons.

“Military investigation indicated that the group of Abu Toraife had a hand in the Isulan bombing,” Lt. Colonel Edwin Alburo, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, said in a radio interview Monday.

Abu Turaife is the leader of one of three BIFF factions operating in Central Mindanao, whose members are blamed for previous bomb attacks in Isulan last year and in April this year.

“The group is known for terror attacks,” the military official said, adding the group was extorting from the local government of Isulan and threatened to set off bombs if their demands are not met.

Lt. Colonel Joven Bagaybay, Isulan town police chief, said the extortionists have been asking PHP250,000 in monthly protection money to spare the town from bomb attacks.

Bagaybay said the group phoned Isulan Mayor Marites Pallasigue on Sept. 2 demanding the protection money.

Police are now studying the CCTV footage that showed a woman onboard a motorbike arriving at the empty “habal-habal” (motorcycle-for-hire) terminal situated along the highway the night before the blast.

“Moments later, the bomber left behind the motorbike together with what appeared to be a backpack before walking away,” Bagaybay said.

He said the same security camera footage disclosed that the bomber was a man disguised as a woman wearing a wig and lady’s casual attire. (PNA)