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Soldiers find, disarm bomb in Cotabato

Soldiers find, disarm bomb in Cotabato

Army explosives experts disarmed a powerful homemade bomb yesterday in a southern Philippine city that has been a target of attacks blamed on al-Qaida-linked militants and extortion gangs.
The bomb, rigged from an 81 mm mortar shell, was found hidden in a cigarette carton outside an auto repair shop at dawn yesterday in Cotabato city.
A security guard from a nearby gasoline station called police to report the suspicious box, said Cotabato police chief Senior Superintendent Willie Dangane.
The improvised explosive device may have been intended for another area but because of heavy police and military presence around the city, the would-be bomber may have abandoned it to avoid detection, Dangane said. Dangane said the security guard noticed the box early in the morning and called police several hours later when no one collected it.
Members of an army bomb squad found a digital watch timer attached to the bomb, which they dragged to the middle of the road. It was unclear when it was set to go off. The squad tried twice to force a detonation at the site, but the bomb failed to go off. It was later taken away by the soldiers.