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

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.