Boy killed, 11 others injured in Kibawe village explosion

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/31 January) A 12-year old boy and a man reported to be a member of the New People’s Army were killed and 11
villagers mostly children were injured when a weapon accidentally
exploded during the lunch break of a village gathering Monday noon,
Maj. Butch Miñoza, Kibawe police chief told Bukidnon News Tuesday.

The explosion occurred in Sitio Silahis, Sampaguita, Kibawe town in
southern Bukidnon, about 20 kilometers from the town center.  He said
the NPA was holding a series of lectures in the village.

The boy, identified as Rolly Sabellana, died at the Kibawe Provincial
Hospital, where the 11 others were brought for treatment. Four of
those injured are in serious condition, Mayor Minerva Casinabe said
via telephone.

The police still could not identify the type of weapon, which exploded
even if their initial report cited it was an M203 grenade launcher.
Miñoza clarified that based on updates from their follow up
investigation, the weapon was an improvised explosive device (IED)
allegedly used for demonstration in the lecture. Miñoza said the
explosion occurred in the middle of the lecture.

But Casinabe denied to Bukidnon News Tuesday that a lecture was held
in the village. She admitted, however, that the firearm belonged to
the NPA, who she said were just passing by the village.

Based on the police progress report as of January 31 afternoon, the
names of the injured victims were identified as Barceliza Sabellana,
41; Robert Dumanguit, 11; Bernie Teric, 10; Jakerey Antivo, 12;
Rogelio Buhawe Jr, 9, all residents of Sampaguita village.

Also injured were residents from Pinamula village in Kibawe town who
were drying corn in a solar dryer nearby. The survivors were
identified as Sonnyboy Matunhay, 12;  Julieben Matunhay, 19; Samson
Matunhay, 16;  Emmanuel Matunhay, 9; Aldie Capanay, 18 and Daniel
Meras, 36 from Cagawasan village.

Miñoza could not identify the slain man who was reported to be a
member of the NPA and was holding the weapon.

A Bukidnon News source from Sampaguita said via telephone the NPA was
holding a four-day lecture in the village since Saturday. But the
source refused to provide more details about the lecture. They
initially held the lecture in the elementary school but moved to the
chapel on Monday because of the classes, the source added.

But the source said the explosion occurred in the house of the
Sabellanas, which sits next to the solar dryer. The source said lunch
was hosted by villagers who were forced by the circumstances to
accommodate the NPA. But the source asked not to be named for fear of
reprisal.

Casinabe stressed that no lecture was held in the area. She said based
on her verification with Sampaguita Brgy. Chair Marcelo Sible, around
50 armed members of the NPA were resting for lunch in the area.
“They were just passersby,” she added.

The slain rebel, she added, tried to replace the M203 grenade, which
fell to the ground. But it accidentally exploded, she said.

All those injured, Casinabe said, were hit randomly. (Walter I.
Balane/Bukidnon News)

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