An improvised bomb allegedly planted by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters went off at a covered court in Datu Piang, Maguindanao on Saturday, injuring eight people.
The Philippine Army's 6th Infantry Division (ID), based in the province, said the blast occurred around 3:39 p.m. at a covered court where a volleyball game was being held.
The injured victims were aged from 13 to 29, according to authorities. Two of the injured have already been released from the hospital.
One of the victims, Norodin Musa, was reported to have died at the hospital. Further verification, however, showed Musa is still alive but is in critical condition.
Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Baldomar of the 6th Infantry Division said authorities are looking into 3 angles behind the explosion, including a "diversionary attack" from the BIFF.
"It (blast) may be a diversionary attack because of our ongoing combat operation against them. They are cornered and are hurt and many of them are surrendering so they want the military focus diverted," Baldomar said.
Baldomar said enemies of the volleyball game's organizers may have carried out the attack.
Organizers received a death threat weeks prior to the game, he said.
"But [the organizers] don't know who sent the threat," he added.
The motive may also be political, Baldomar said.
"Datu Piang is a hotspot when it comes to elections... In a few days, the filing of candidacy starts so this could be a demolition job," he said.
FROM THE ARCHIVES