COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 26, 2009) – One person was killed and three more injured in a bomb attack Sunday in Sultan Kudarat province in the troubled region of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, officials said.
Officials blamed the bombing in Lebak town to the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which is fighting for independence in Mindanao.
“One civilian was killed and two others are wounded in the MILF bombing,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Ponce, a regional army spokesman, told the Mindanao Examiner.
There was no immediate statement from the MILF, but the bombing coincided with the weeklong fighting between security and rebel forces in Maguindanao province where army soldiers killed at least 9 MILF members.
More than a dozen rebel camps and caches of weapons were also captured by troops, Ponce said.
The MILF has previously denied allegations linking them to the spate of bombings targeting civilians in the southern Philippines. “Who else would do such an act of terrorism,? These bombings were perpetrated by the MILF’s SOG under Basit Usman,” Ponce said, referring to the rebel’s special operations group headed by Abdul Basit Usman.
Usman, who was linked by the Philippine military to the Indonesian militant group Jemaah Islamiya, is also wanted by the United States for terrorism. And Washington has offered as much as $50,000 reward for his capture.
Peace talks between Manila and the MILF collapsed last year after the failed signing of the Muslim homeland deal that the Supreme Court ruled was unconstitutional. (Mindanao Examiner)