Blast hits southern Philippines

Three people killed as violence continues ahead of next week's national elections.

    The bombing comes days ahead of
    national elections [Reuters]

    Witnesses reported seeing bodies of the dead and wounded strewn about the smoking rubble of a billiards hall where bomb squad officers said the device had been placed.

    Ongoing violence

    Teng Tacao, a provincial head of police, said two people were killed instantly; the military reported that another died later. 33 others were in serious condition with shrapnel and burn wounds.

    Police foiled a previous bomb attack in the city only last month when they found a device made from 81mm mortar rounds, a trademark of Muslim fighters operating in the southern Philippines who have been linked to al-Qaeda.

    Rebel fighters from the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are known to operate near Tacurong and other parts of Mindanao island, but the group's spokesman denied it had a hand in the attack.

    "That is not our style," Eid Kabalu said. "It may be some groups out to sow terror ahead of the elections."

    National mid-term elections will be held on May 14, and the run-up to the vote has been marred by assassinations and other violence.

    Last Wednesday police said that 20 people had been killed in election-related violence.


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.