January 10, 2007
Three Successive Bombings in the PhilippinesThough I've been an expat for decades, I still keep an eye on what's happening in my native country. Today brought some tragic news:
Three bombs within hours of each other rocked the southern Philippines on Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding 27 others, officials said, amid warnings that Muslim militants may try to disrupt this weekend’s Asian regional summit meetings.Two of the dead are children. Authorities suspect the Abu Sayyaf, a local ally of Jemaah Islamiyah which is the asian arm of Al Qaeda.
The country is hosting the ASEAN summit right now, but the bombings happened in a different island hundreds of miles away, in the Muslim stronghold of Mindanao. The attendees weren't in danger and the summit will continue, but it is suspected the bombings were timed to embarrass the Arroyo government.
Of the three Mindanao cities hit by the blast, General Santos City is predominantly Christian while the other two, Kidapawan and Cotabato City, are predominantly Muslim. General Santos suffered the six casualties.
One of my cousins used to be the port manager in General Santos, but thankfully was transferred to Manila years ago.
Ironically, the government just signed a ceasefire agreement with the Muslim extremist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) mere days before the explosion. Still no word on how the bombings will affect the agreement. Note, however, that the MILF is a separatist rebel group not known to be allied with Abu Sayyaf, who are basically terrorist thugs who mainly kidnap locals and foreigners for ransom.
More from the Philippine tv network ABS-CBN and local newspaper Mindanao Times.
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