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Homemade bomb kills 2 in Philippines coffee shop

 A member of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force who will be deployed to southern Basilan province, places a rosary on his uniform dur...
 A boy comes near his father during a formation of members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force, who will be deployed to southern Ba...

Philippines Muslim Rebels

A member of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force who will be deployed to southern Basilan province, places a rosary on his uniform dur...

Philippines Muslim Rebels

A boy comes near his father during a formation of members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force, who will be deployed to southern Ba...

A homemade bomb planted outside a coffee shop in the southern Philippines exploded prematurely Monday, killing a would-be attacker and one bystander but missing its target _ a military convoy that passed by unscathed, an army general said. The military blamed Muslim rebels.
The bomb was hidden in a trash can in front of a coffee shop in Datu Saudi Ampatuan township in Maguindanao province, said regional military commander Maj. Gen. Alfredo Cayton. Authorities suspected the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the attack, but the group denied responsibility.
The powerful blast also wounded 14 people, including nine who were brought to a hospital for treatment, Cayton said.
The bomb, which was made from an 81 mm mortar round, was apparently intended for a convoy of army troops returning to camp from days of counterinsurgency assaults in nearby Datu Piang township. They passed by a few hours later at the scene of the blast _ and the battered cafe, he said.
"They knew the troops have disengaged from the operations and would pass by there," Cayton said. "But something went wrong with their bomb."
Army troops searched the vicinity after the blast but found no other explosives.
Eid Kabalu, spokesman for the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front, denied his group's involvement in the blast.
The volatile Maguindanao region has been the scene of clashes between government forces and Muslim rebels since last year, when Manila scrapped a preliminary peace deal that would have expanded an existing autonomous Muslim region in the south in this predominantly Roman Catholic country.
Aside from increasing hostilities in Maguindanao, government forces have also been confronted by intensifying attacks from the smaller but more violent Abu Sayyaf group on Basilan Island, also in the south.
About 100 al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf militants ambushed a police van in Basilan on Sunday, killing seven policemen and their driver. Two officers survived. Troops were hunting down the attackers, the military said.
The Abu Sayyaf gunmen may have wanted to avenge the loss of several fighters during recent offensives and the escape of a hostage, navy Rear Admiral Alex Pama said.
National police chief Jesus Versoza on Sunday sent more than 200 members of an elite special action force to Basilan to help combat the militants.
The Abu Sayyaf, which has about 400 fighters, is listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization because of its al-Qaida links and numerous terrorist attacks, including against Americans.
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Associated Press writer Teresa Cerojano contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-04-21 01:56 GMT+08:00