‘Black powder’ used in Maguindanao blast that targeted LGBT volleyball players

A HOMEMADE bomb made up of “black powder” was used for an explosion that killed one person and wounded seven others in Datu Piang in Maguindanao, authorities said on Sunday as they continued to investigate the blast.

Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Battalion, said the bombers used a command-detonated bomb utilizing black powder as the charge in the blast that ripped through the covered court of Datu Piang.

Norodin S. Musa, 21, was killed during the explosion while seven others were wounded on Saturday afternoon while a group of LGBT people were playing volleyball at the town’s covered court.

Baldomar said they have not identified any group yet behind the attack, although they were looking at the possible involvement of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Daulah Islamiyah, the loose group of local terrorists allied with the Islamic State (IS).

He said the use of black powder as the charge has been common in past bombings in Maguindanao. It has been used by local terrorists and groups since they were trained on how to use and make it by members of the IS and other international terrorist groups.

Baldomar said investigators were ascertaining the motive of the attack, which occurred as the military sustains its combat operations against terrorists in Maguindanao and other parts of Central Mindanao, hinting it could have been the terrorists’ “diversionary attack.”

A reported threat from a group, warning the victims who are LGBT members to “straighten up,” was also being looked into.

“Another motive that we are looking into . . . is they received threats weeks ago, warning them that they will be made to answer if they will not change,” Baldomar said, noting the threats reportedly made it clear that being a bisexual is against Islam.

The group which made the threats has not been identified.

Meanwhile, National Police chief General Guillermo Eleazar ordered the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR) to work with the military in identifying the perpetrators behind the attack.

The PNP chief also ordered police forces in Mindanao to intensify security in the region following the bombing, which came as the Philippine National Police begins its security preparations for the national elections next year.

Eleazar ordered the PRO-BAR to conduct a thorough probe into the explosion.

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