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MANILA, Philippines – North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Mendoza and Kabacan Mayor Herlo Guzman joined hands in the hunt for the suspect of a bomb attack that killed a student and hurt 16 others.

Following the announcement of Mendoza in offering a P100,000 bounty for the suspect, Guzman announced late Monday that the municipal government is also offering another P100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator.

This after the unidentified suspect detonated an improvised explosive device near state-run University of Southern Mindanao and  Kabacan Pilot Elementary School in Kabacan town late Sunday.

“I ask every Cotabateño not to succumb to fear but stand our ground against those who bring conflict and criminality in our province. Christians, Muslims and Lumads should not allow animosity to divide Cotabato,” she said.

Lt. Col. Audie Edralin, 7th Infantry Division chief, said an Army ordinance team found another IED on the overpass and managed to defuse it.

Military and police officials said they believed the bombing was intended to divert government forces pursuing members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in the nearby town of Pikit, also in North Cotabato.

“The bomb, which was set off through a mobile phone, has the signature of the BIFF,” Edralin said.