Friday, December 26, 2008

2 injured in Mindanao grenade attacks

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 26, 2008) – A series of grenade attacks injured two people and damaged several commuter buses in the southern Philippines, where government troops are fighting Moro rebels, officials said Friday.

Officials said two grenades exploded at bus depot in Cotabato City late Thursday, but there were no reports of casualties. “The blasts damaged several buses. There were no casualties,” Lt. Col. Julieto Ando, a spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, told the Mindanao Examiner.

No group of individuals claimed responsibility for the attacks, but police have implicated two security guards formerly working with the bus firm called Husky. Ando said the attackers, who escaped on a motorcycle, used MK2 fragmentation grenades.

He said two men riding tandem on motorcycle also hurled a grenade and exploded near a roadside eatery in Tacurong City, wounding two people.

Ando said the attacks appeared to be unrelated, but they coincided with sporadic clashes between troops and Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in Aleosan town in North Cotabato and Kalamansig town in Sultan Kudarat provinces.

He said there were no casualties in the fighting. “The rebels continue to attack our forces without provocation,” he said.

At least 11 people were killed in sporadic clashes between military and rebel forces since Wednesday in Mindanao, Ando said.

The MILF said one rebel was slain in the fighting, which it blamed to government soldiers. “Troops are attacking us and we are only defending ourselves,” Eid Kabalu, a senior MILF leader, said.

Peace talks between the MILF and the Arroyo government collapsed after the failed signing of the Muslim ancestral domain in August. The aborted signing triaged a series of deadly rebel attacks in Mindanao.

The MILF is the country’s largest Muslim rebel group which is fighting the past three decades for a separate homeland in the troubled region. (Mindanao Examiner)

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