COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 24, 2009) – An improvised bomb exploded Friday near a military post in the southern Philippines, where security forces are battling Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels, officials said.
Officials said the explosion occurred at around 6.30 a.m. just 25 meters from the outpost in the village of Bagan in Guindulungan town in Maguindanao, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
“No one was hurt in the blast. The MILF was behind the bombing. The rebels are harassing our soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Ponce, a regional army spokesman.
It was the second bombing in two days in the province where troops and rebels were fighting since last week. On Thursday, government soldiers disarmed an improvised explosive in the town of Datu Odin Sinsuat also in Maguindanao.
Troops also recovered on Thursday a huge cache of weapons left behind by MILF rebels in Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces. The government offensive, Ponce said, was to prevent terrorism.
“The clearing operation is a counteraction against the series of attacks by the MILF to deter their plan,” he said.
The MILF is the country’s largest Muslim rebel group fighting for independence in Mindanao. The seven-year old peace talks between the Arroyo government and the MILF collapsed last year after the failed signing of the Muslim homeland deal. (Mindanao Examiner)