Explosions in Mindanao reported a day before BOL plebiscite

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 5) — Four explosions have been reported on Tuesday, a day before the Bangsamoro second plebiscite.

The latest explosion happened in Sultan Naga Dimaporo at around 10 p.m.

The military confirmed a hand grenade was used in the blast.

Two explosions have been reported in the towns of Kauswagan and Lala in Lanao del Norte late Tuesday afternoon.

The explosion in Kauswagan happened in front of the auditorium of the municipal hall, while the explosion in Lala happened in front of a highway gas station, said CInsp. Salman Saad, head of the Police Community Relations in Lanao del Norte.

Earlier that day, an explosion was reported along the road in Talayan, Maguindanao.

No deaths or casualties have been reported so far.

The Maguindanao road is currently closed to motorists while the military continues carrying out clearing operations.

Authorities are currently investigating these events.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Dimaporo said that she suspected that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were behind the explosions in the two Lanao towns.

 

Dimaporo said she thought "the MILF under Commander Bravo" was behind the bombings, adding that the group was in Lanao del Norte for a peace rally backed by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

Dimaporo is against the inclusion of six towns in her province in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

"Yung (The) Kauswagan, one of the municipalities of Lanao del Norte kasama sa plebiscito (is a part of the plebiscite) tomorrow. Kauswagan is a Christian municipality, and it was attacked by the MILF in 2000," Dimaporo said.

MILF Chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim earlier Tuesday told CNN Philippines that he sees no potential security threads on the second Bangsamoro plebiscite tomorrow.

"Sa aming panig, ang importante lang ay mabigyan ang tao na bumoto according to their own choice, hindi yung pinipilit sila. It's a democratic process. Yun lang ang kailangan, walang manipulation, walang intimidation," Murad said..

[Translation: For our part, the important thing is the residents should be given the chance to vote according to their own choice, and not because they're being forced to. It's a democratic process. That's what we need-no manipulation, no intimidation.]

READ: No security threat to second Bangsamoro plebiscite – Moro leader

On February 6, residents of Lanao del Norte, except Iligan City, will be asked if they agree to include the towns of Tagoloan, Balo-i, Pantar, Munai, Tangcal and Nunungan in the BARMM.

Seven North Cotabato towns-- Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pigkawayan, Pikit and Tulunan-- will also decide if they allow 67 of their barangays (villages) to separate and be part of the BARMM.

Voters of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato will also have to vote if they are willing to let go of these areas.

READ: Several North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte towns vote in second round of Bangsamoro plebiscite

Mindanao-based journalist Roland Ortillano contributed to this story.