Grenade blast near Philippine church, no one hurt

| October 27, 2009

Manila – Suspected Muslim militants Tuesday lobbed a grenade at the back of a Catholic church in the southern Philippines, but no one was hurt in the attack, the military said.

Major General Ben Dolorfino said the grenade was thrown over a rear wall of the Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Jolo town on Jolo island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila.

The explosion did not cause damage to the church or a nearby cemetery.

Major Ramon Hontiveros, a regional military spokesman, said authorities suspect that the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf rebel group could have been behind the blast.

'The explosion could be a test by the terrorists to see the reaction of the military and the police in the area,' he added.

In July, six people were killed when a homemade bomb exploded in front of the Mount Carmel Catholic Church. The bombing was blamed on the Abu Sayyaf and the regional group Jemaah Islamiyah.

Earlier Tuesday, government troops foiled a roadside bombing when they found three bombs in Sirawai town in Zamboanga Del Norte province, 870 kilometres south of Manila.

Hontiveros said the soldiers were on their regular security patrol when they spotted the bombs, which were later disarmed. The devices were made from 22 litres of ammonium nitrate.

'Our troops have thwarted another attempt by terrorists to conduct further bombings,' he said, adding that investigators were still trying to determine who was behind the foiled bombing.

Various armed groups operate in the Zamboanga Del Norte, including the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayyaf group.

While the MILF has officially denounced terrorism in the fight for an independent Islamic state in the southern region of Mindanao, some rogue members have been involved in terrorist attacks.

The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for some of the worst terrorist attacks in the Philippines and high-profile kidnappings involving foreign hostages.

Tags: , ,

Category: Church Security

Comments are closed.