Zamboanga (Philippines), Oct 17 (Reuters): Bombs ripped through the main bazaar of a mostly Christian city in an area of the southern Philippines at the heart of Muslim insurgency today, killing six and wounding 143, in what officials said could be a regional plot by Islamic radicals.
The bombings were the second major bomb attack in Southeast Asia in five days. Suspicion immediately focused on a radical Muslim group also being investigated for Saturday’s explosions on the Indonesian island of Bali, in which more than 180 died.
Shouts of “There’s a bomb”, “Another explosion”, “Run... Run” rent the air in Zamboanga city as shoppers and shopkeepers ran on to narrow streets littered with wreckage, glass and mutilated bodies from the twin mid-day blasts. Troops found and defused two other bombs.
“The perpetrators are more or less connected, or there is some connection in bombings occurring in the region,” Lauro Baja, foreign undersecretary, said in Manila. The military blamed radicals fighting for an Islamic state in the south and said investigators were looking into the possible involvement of the militant Jemaah Islamiah group.