Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Twin blasts hit Cotabato City

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 13, 2011) – Two improvised bombs exploded Tuesday in the restive city of Cotabato in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said no was killed or wounded in the blasts along Sinsuat Avenue. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the twin attacks that occurred shortly after noontime.

Initial military reports said the explosives were fashioned out from mortar bombs commonly used in roadside attacks by rebels in the troubled South.

The blasts coincided with the visit of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo who was in Cotabato to attend a government forum on the nominees for the acting governor in the Muslim autonomous region.

It was not immediately known whether the explosions were meant to disrupt the forum or embarrass Robredo, who is among those sitting in the panel that will choose the acting regional governor.

The government received close to a hundred nominations and applications for the top post, but Robredo said those aspiring to become the acting governor must introduce reforms set by President Benigno Aquino.

Robredo said they will make the announcement on October 1. He did not say who would be chosen to run the autonomous region until new elections are held in 2013, but among those aspiring to become acting governor were Muslim politicians who belong to powerful clans in Mindanao, and leaders from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is currently negotiating peace with the Aquino government.

The former rebel group called Moro National Liberation Front which signed a peace deal with Manila in September 1996, has criticized the Aquino government for stalling this year’s elections in the autonomous region composed of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao provinces.

It was unknown whether any of its members or leaders was involved in the explosions.

Cotabato City, once tagged by the United States as a “doormat” for terrorists in the southern Philippines, is one of the most dangerous places in Mindanao with gun attacks occurring almost every day and had been a target of terror attacks in recent years. (Mindanao Examiner)

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