COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 22, 2007) – One person was killed in a powerful explosion Thursday that ripped through a shopping mall in the troubled southern Philippine region of Mindanao, officials said.
Officials said the blast also injured a still undetermined number of shoppers in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato province. The explosion was believed from a bomb that was left at the baggage counter of KNCC Mall.
"We are awaiting reports from the field," Lt. Col. Julieto Ando, a spokesman for the Army's 6th Infantry Division, told the Mindanao Examiner.
Other reports said as many as six people were wounded in the blast that shattered glass panes and windows at the mall.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack, but previous bombings in the area had been blamed by Filipino authorities to the Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiya and their local counterpart, the Abu Sayyaf.
Two powerful bombs also exploded in October at the busy business district of Kidapawan City that killed three people and wounded 32 others.
Soldiers in October also disarmed a homemade bomb planted at a market in Pikit town in North Cotabato in October.
Prior to that, two homemade bombs exploded inside two commuter buses in Marbel town and in Cotabato City.
The region is also where Filipino troops are pursuing Zulkifli bin Hir and two other Jemaah Islamiya bomb-makers, Dulmatin and Umar Patek, both tagged by Jakarta as behind the 2002 Bali bombings.
Manila said about three dozen other Jemaah Islamiya accomplices are believed hiding in Mindanao. The United States and Australia are helping the Philippines on its so-called war on terror by providing aid and training to local troops. (Mindanao Examiner)