Blast rocks south Philippines city; 1 dead, 31 injured

Zamboanga mayor links blast to predominantly Christian city holding 57 Abu Sayyaf members in its jails.

Blast rocks south Philippines city; 1 dead, 31 injured

World Bulletin / News Desk

At least one person was killed and dozens of others were wounded in an explosion Friday afternoon near a bus terminal in the predominantly Christian city of Zamboanga in the southern Philippines.

Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, Zamboanga City Police Office director, confirmed to an Anadolu Agency correspondent at the scene that one person died and at least 31 others were wounded in the blast that rocked the Fantacy Bar, just in front of a bus terminal in Barangay Guiwan.

He added that just before the explosion occurred at around 3.30 p.m. (0730GMT), pedestrians noticed a fire at the bar.

Authorities said one person -- identified as Reynaldo Tan -- died while receiving treatment at a hospital, while 13 other victims were brought to local hospitals.

"We are looking at either a gas tank [explosion] or an improvised explosive device," Casimiro said, adding that the bar, a rickshaw and a car were also damaged in the blast.

A police officer on duty at the terminal -- Brasim Abilani -- told reporters that he saw a red Kia vehicle catch fire, before a powerful explosion went off, damaging buildings and scattering shards of glass around the area.

Police, military and an emergency response team rushed to the area and brought the wounded to hospitals.

The road was temporarily closed while authorities investigated the explosion.

Authorities said they are looking into whether the blast involved a car bomb.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar told AA that police and military were in the process of trying to determine the cause of the blast, but linked the explosion to the city presently holding Abu Sayyaf members in its jails.

"Let us take note that this Abu Sayyaf group members that are here awaiting trial did not commit their atrocities in the city of Zamboanga and the trials are not held in the city."

She called for the government to remove the 57 Abu Sayyaf from Zamboanga.

"They are not our problem and yet they are our burden," she added. "We do not want a repeat of the siege of the city."

In September 2013, nearly 200 people died and over 120,000 were left homeless in Zamboanga when a rebel group laid siege to the city.

The group -- the Moro National Liberation Front -- were opposed to a peace deal between breakaway group the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government.


Last Mod: 23 Ocak 2015, 14:12
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