MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato, Philippines—An vigilant civilian prevented what could have been a deadly explosion Thursday when he alerted the police to an improvised explosive device left at the plaza here.

Chief Superintendent Felicissimu Khu, head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, said the IED, fashioned from a 60-millimeter mortar shell fitted with a mobile phone as trigger mechanism, was left at a corner of the plaza, near the Midsayap Central Pilot Elementary School.

The town plaza of Midsayap is not normally crowded at that time of night but there were some people there when the bomb was discovered around 11:30 p.m., Khu said.

Khu said the man, suspicious of the bag, peeked into it and called the police immediately after he saw a bomb was inside.

Responding police and Army bomb experts later detonated the bomb.

Khu said the IED was similar to other IEDs planted by lawless elements in Central Mindanao the past months but he declined to speculate on the motive or the identities of the people behind it. Inquirer.net tagaAmerica.com