Philippines market blast kills 14

At least 14 people have been killed in an explosion at a crowded market in the southern Philippines. 

Around 60 others are said to have been injured in the blast in the port city of General Santos, on the southern tip of the island of Mindanao. 

Police said they did not yet know whether a militant group was involved in Sunday's explosion. 

Several armed groups, including Muslim separatists, are active in the south of the country. 

'Packed' 

Correspondents say shoppers and merchants fled in panic following the afternoon blast. 

"The market was packed with people because there were Christmas flea market stalls there, and the explosion was powerful," a police official told the Associated Press news agency.

Police cordoned off the area and are investigating the type of explosives used. 

They say there have been recent threats by Muslim militants from the Abu Sayyaf group, which is linked to the regional militant network Jemaah Islamiah (JI). 

But the city's mayor said the blast could stem from a feud between two groups of stall owners at the market. 

The last major bombing in General Santos was in April last year, when 15 people died at a crowded shopping centre. 

The attack was blamed on the Abu Sayyaf, but security officials say JI planned, financed and directed the attack. 

The Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility for a bomb that killed more than 100 people on a ferry leaving the capital, Manila, in February.

12/12/2004

Bron : BBC News

Archief - Home