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Monday, August 5, 2013

Bomb explodes in Southern Philippines

The aftermath of the deadly bombing in Cotabato City in southern Philippines in these photos of the Mindanao Human Rights Action Center. 

 Mindanao Examiner Photo - Mark Navales

COTABATO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 5, 2013) – A bomb explosion has killed at least 5 people in fresh attack Monday in Cotabato City in the restive southern region of Mindanao in southern Philippines.

The blast occurred around 4.30 p.m. outside a row of restaurants and establishments along Sinsuat Avenue and the explosion was so powerful that it destroyed several parked vehicles and wounded more than 2 dozen people. Among the dead was a policeman.

The powerful explosion also sent debris flying in all directions, but the type of bomb used in the attack is still unknown, although other reports said a car bomb was detonated in the area.

The military has confirmed the attack, but officials could not immediately give a detailed report of the bombing, saying, investigators were busy gathering evidence. Troops were also sent to the area to help police secure the scene or search explosives.

“Magulo pa sa scene,” Col. Dickson Hermoso, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division, told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the latest attack, but it occurred just 10 days after a deadly bombing at Kyla’s Bistro Bar in Cagayan de Oro City, also in southern Philippines, that killed 8 people and wounded 48 others.

Authorities would not say whether the attack in Cagayan de Oro was connected to the latest bombing.
It was unknown whether the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and former Moro National Liberation Front rebels, who are opposed to the government peace talks with the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front, are involved in the attack.

In June, a grenade was also lobbed at a military encampment in Cotabato City, although no casualties were reported. The city had been bombed by rebels many times in the past and there were also some attacks that authorities said were connected to political rivalry and clan war. 

Last year, an improvised explosive assembled from 81mm mortar bomb went off in Cotabato City and military and police blamed the attack on the shadowy groups Bangsamoro Independence Movement and Bangsamoro Youth Movement.

Cotabato City, once tagged by the United States as a “doormat” for terrorists in the southern Philippines, is one of the most dangerous places in Mindanao with killings occurring almost every day and had been a target of terror attacks in recent years. (Mindanao Examiner)

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