[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Deadly blast hits southern Philippines

Powerful bomb explosion in Cotabato City in Mindanao region kills at least six people and wounds 29.

Last Modified: 05 Aug 2013 14:20
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Houses were engulfed in fire after the attack in the centre of Cotabato [Reuters]

At least six people have been killed and 29 wounded in a powerful bomb blast in the centre of the southern Philippines city of Cotabato, police have said.

The explosive device was placed in a vehicle - either a motorcycle or a van - parked near a hospital and a school, city police chief Senior Superintendent Rolen Balquin said on Monday.

"The explosion was on a very busy street," Balquin told local Catholic radio station DXMS.

The late-afternoon blast damaged at least four vehicles and triggered a fire that engulfed a nearby mortuary and a tyre repair shop, he added.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and Balquin said the motive was still being investigated.

Mujiv Hataman, governor of a regional autonomous area whose office is 800m away from the blast site, said the explosion rattled his windows and shattered a quiet afternoon just before Muslims were to end their Ramadan fast.

"That area has always been a busy street, full of traffic. There are a lot of establishments there and people come and go at all hours," he told AFP news agency by telephone.

Muslim-Catholic city

Cotabato is a mixed Muslim-Catholic city on the main southern island of Mindanao, where Muslim fighters have waged a decades old rebellion that has left thousands dead.

It was the second bombing to hit Mindanao in 10 days.

A powerful blast at a restaurant packed with doctors and pharmaceutical salesmen left eight people dead on the Mindanao city of Cagayan de Oro on July 26.

The Cotabato explosion also came just shortly after the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway rebel faction, warned of intensified attacks against the government targets.

In 2011 the BIFF split from the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is negotiating peace with the government of President Benigno Aquino.

297

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.