Bomb blast injures 3 in south Philippines

– Explosion occurs within hours of visit by vice presidential candidate contesting May election

By Hader Glang

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – At least three people – one of them a minor – were injured when an explosion rocked a southern Philippine city visited by a vice presidential candidate Tuesday.

Supt. Ranie Hachuela, chief of Tacurong City police, was quoted by local media as saying that an improvised explosive device went off near a national highway in Sultan Kudarat province at around 2 p.m. (0600GMT).

All three victims – aged 42, 19 and 3 – sustained shrapnel wounds to different parts of their bodies and were rushed to a nearby hospital.

The bomb had been planted under a car parked along a street at the city center.

According to the army-led Task Force Talakudung, the bomb consisted of explosive charges, nails and jagged fragments of cast iron, and was detonated with a mobile phone.

Those responsible for the blast in the troubled region, and their motive, have yet to be determined.

The Brigada News radio station based in nearby Cotabato City, reported that the incident occurred within two hours of a visit by an vice presidential candidate contesting the election in May.

The report also disclosed that the candidate arrived in Tacurong in the morning for a gathering before leaving after 11 a.m.

The Liberal Party’s Leni Robredo, representative of Camarines Sur 3rd District, released a statement expressing sympathy for the victims and denouncing the attack.

“I appeal to the authorities to immediately address the needs of the injured victims,” Rappler quoted her as saying. “I am also seeking a prompt investigation into the incident to determine the motive behind it, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Authorities have not ruled out a connection between the blast and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a splinter group opposed to an ongoing peace process between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government.

In December, the military had blamed the BIFF for the killing of eleven people – including seven farmers – in simultaneous attacks in villages at the border of Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao, a majority Muslim province.




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