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Manila blames rebels for fatal bomb attack

Manila blames rebels for fatal bomb attack

A homemade bomb planted by suspected Muslim rebels exploded prematurely in a market in the southern Philippines yesterday, killing a would-be attacker and wounding 15 civilians, officials said.
The bomb was hidden in a trash can in front of a coffee shop in Datu Saudi Ampatuan township in Maguindanao province, said military spokesman Maj. Randolph Cabangbang. Authorities suspected the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the attack, but the group denied responsibility.
A separate attack on nearby Basilan Island on Sunday - believed carried out by the more violent, al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants - killed seven policemen, the military said.
The volatile region has been the scene of clashes between government forces and Muslim separatist rebels since last year, when Manila scrapped a preliminary peace deal that would have expanded an existing autonomous Muslim region in the predominantly Roman Catholic south.
Eid Kabalu, spokesman for the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front, denied his group's involvement in Monday's blast.
Although the 2003 cease-fire between troops and Muslim rebels has largely held, outbursts of fighting have displaced thousands of civilians, and homemade bombs have added to the tensions.
On Sunday, navy Rear Adm. Alex Pama said suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen opened fire on a police convoy in far-flung Sumisip township on Basilan Island, killing seven. Two officers survived.


Updated : 2021-03-02 15:19 GMT+08:00