Bukidnon bishop calls for calm after church attack

Bukidnon Bishop Jose Araneta Cabantan calls people to remain calm and pray after a recent grenade blast on church during Sunday Mass in Kalilangan town, Bukidnon.

Two people were reported wounded when the grenade exploded at the door of San Vicente Ferrer Parish Church at around 8 a.m.

At present, the identity of the attackers is still unknown.

“I call on all the faithful in Bukidnon, especially those in the parish of Kalilangan to pray and stay calm,” the bishop said in a press release.

He said the investigators are already following a lead.

Kalilangan Parish priest Fr. Art Paraiso said witnesses reported seeing two teen-aged boys throw two grenades into the church as the parishioners were reciting the ‘Prayers of the Faithful.’ A second grenade failed to explode.

Police officers helped Fr. Paraiso keep the people calm and continued saying mass at the parish after the tactical officers moved in and declared the crime scene safe.

A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing said the attack is linked to the death of a Muslim boy recently hit by a bus owned by the Rural Transit of Mindanao, Inc. (RTMI). A Christian was driving the vehicle during the incident.

The boy’s family is suspected of being behind the attack on two rural buses in Wao, Lanao del Sur and Kapatagan town in Lanao del Norte that left four people dead.

To avoid tensions between the Christian and Muslim communities, Bishop Cabantan called on Catholics to remain calm.

He urged the residents, especially the relatives of the wounded parishioners, not to take justice into their own hands but leave it to the authorities.

The grenade attack was the first in the Diocese of Malaybalay-Bukidnon District. (PIA Bukidnon)

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