At Least 6 Die in Bomb Blast in South Philippines

At Least 6 Die in Bomb Blast in South Philippines

(AP) At least 6 die in bomb blast in south Philippines
MANILA, Philippines
A powerful bomb apparently rigged to a vehicle exploded Monday during rush hour along a main road in a volatile southern Philippine city, killing at least six people and wounding 29 others, officials said.

Troops and police closed off the area along Sinsuat Avenue in Cotabato city as firefighters and ambulances arrived at the scene, where witnesses saw at least four people bloodied on the pavement as cars and buildings burned after the explosion.

Cotabato, a bustling regional trading hub, has been targeted by Muslim insurgents in the past.

The bomb exploded as a bulletproof SUV, carrying city administrator Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, was passing by. Sayadi was not hurt but two of her bodyguards in a security van were killed, officials said, adding it was unclear if Sayadi was the target of the attack.

President Benigno Aquino III’s administration condemned the bombing and vowed to hunt down and punish those responsible.

Philippine authorities did not immediately point to any suspects, but government forces have been on alert in the southern region due to recent attacks and bombings by a breakaway Muslim rebel faction opposed to peace talks between a main insurgent group and the government.