Monday, July 20, 2009

Twin blasts kill 1, injured 6 in southern Philippines

Doctors attend to the wounded as police investigators sift through debris Monday, July 20, 2009 after a grenade explosion in Cotabato City in the southern Philippines. At least 6 people are injured in the blast. A homemade bomb explosion earlier also killed a government militia in nearby North Upi town in Maguindanao province. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Mark Navales)
COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 20, 2009) – A government militia was killed and six others were wounded in two separate explosions Monday in the restive southern Philippine region of Mindanao, police said.

Police said a militia was killed after a homemade bomb exploded near an army post in Maguindanao’s North Upi town. A grenade explosion also injured six people in nearby Cotabato City.

No group or individuals have claimed responsibility for the twin blasts and police said the attacks were unrelated. Early this month, a bomb explosion ripped through a stall selling roasted pig outside a Catholic church in Cotabato City. Six people were killed in the blast.

Cotabato police chief Willie Dangane said they are still investigating the grenade explosion, but the Army’s 6th Infantry Division was quick to pin blame to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels for the attacks.

The MILF denied it was behind both attacks and Eid Kabalu, a spokesman for the rebel group, blamed the army for linking them to all criminality in Mindanao.

“The army should be held responsible for fanning the winds of war. The army has blamed the MILF for every single criminality in Mindanao and we have been repeatedly saying that the MILF is for peace. We want peace to reign,” Kabalu told the Mindanao Examiner.

He also urged Congress to investigate the spate of bombings which he blamed to the military and for the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the unabated violations by the army of the rights of innocent civilians.

“We want them to investigate these bombings which we believed is part of a military scenario to sow fear and chaos and blamed everything to the MILF so the peace talks may not push through,” Kabalu said.

Manila said it would resume peace talks with the MILF, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group which is fighting for self-determination in the troubled South. Peace talks collapsed last year after the failed signing of the Muslim homeland deal. (With a report from Mark Navales)

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