Grenade thrown at church for revenge


MANILA - The grenade attack of a Catholic church in a southern Philippines town last Sunday was in retaliation for the killing of a Muslim boy who was ran over by a passenger bus a week ago, police said. Supt. Nerio Bermudo, police director of the province Bukidnon, said two suspects who lobbed the fragmentation grenade during a mass at the San Vicente Ferrer Catholic Church in Kalilangan town, were out to avenge the death of a Muslim boy after they failed to find the driver of the Rural Transit bus. Kalilangan is some 850 kilometers south of Manila.

Rev. Fr. Arturo Paraiso, the parish priest of San Vicente Ferrer Church, was saying Holy Mass when the suspects who were relatives of the boy suddenly barged into the church and lob two grenades along the aisle, sending panic among the faithful.

Three churchgoers were slightly injured in the explosion. Only one of the two grenades thrown exploded, preventing more people from being injured. The suspects fled aboard a motorcycle.

Policemen who rushed to the scene detonated the unexploded grenade outside the church after which Fr. Paraiso continued the mass.

Only recently gunmen disguised as policemen attacked two Rural Transit buses in the towns of Wao and Kapatagan in Lanao del Norte, an adjacent province of Bukidnon, killing four people, including two policemen after they introduced themselves as lawmen.

The two police officers who were not in uniform were among the passengers of the bus.

The attackers told the horrified passengers that they were only after the bus driver and his conductor whom they tagged as responsible for the death of their young relative who was ran over by a Rural Transit bus.

Bermudo said the grenade attack has no religious motivation, though others wanted to make it appear that way.

Witnesses have already provided information to police investigators that would help them identify the suspects.

A manhunt has been mounted for the arrest of the suspects.

The Catholic Church in Bukidnon, especially the Diocese of Malaybalay, has appealed to residents of Kalilangan to remain calm and vigilant.

The diocese also urged the police to be more pro-active against lawless elements in the province.

Asia, ConflictBen Cal