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Sunday, 5 July 2009

Philippines: bomb blast outside Cathedral kills at least 5 people

Islamist militants have been blamed for a bomb blast in the Philippines today which killed at least five people and wounded dozens more.
The bomb exploded outside the Immaculate Conception cathedral in Cotabato city, 545 miles (880 kilometers) south of Manila, as church-goers celebrated Mass.
A woman selling roast pork was killed on the spot while four others, including a soldier and three-year-old boy, died in a nearby hospital. Among the wounded were five soldiers who were passing the cathedral in an army van when the device, fashioned from a mortar round, exploded said army spokesman Colonel Jonathan Ponce.
"This is the handiwork of the rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)," Colonel Ponce told reporters, referring to the Muslim organisation which has waged a decades long battle for self rule in the southern island of Mindanao.

BBC doubts about the authors of the blast:
The military immediately blamed the attack in the town of Cotabato, Mindanao, on a militant group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The group has been fighting to establish a separate Islamic state.
One of its leaders denied any involvement in the attack, saying there was no religious conflict in the south.
Well, there is no other terrorist conflict in Philippines. Specially there are no other people (to my knowledge) who could set off a bomb in the entrance of a cathedral when the mass has finished and the people are just going out. It shows a real interest on killing believers in other religions.

AJ reports there are 45 people wounded. And that:
Nearly 600 people have been killed since then (end of talks with MILF), many of whom were civilians.
Fighting around the marshlands on central Mindanao has escalated in the last eight weeks, forcing more than 350,000 people to flee their homes and farms, pushing back any chance of resuming the peace talks.

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