Mon, Dec 13, 2004 - Page 1 News List

14 killed in the Philippines

DPA AND AFP , GENERAL SANTOS CITY, PHILIPPINES

At least 14 people were killed and 59 others injured in a bomb attack in a public market in the southern Philippines yesterday.

The explosion occurred at the meat section of the crowded public market in General Santos City, 1,050km south of Manila.

Three of those killed perished at the scene of the blast, with others dying in two hospitals where victims were rushed, according to the Red Cross and city police chief Superintendent Willie Dangane.

"The fatalities included two children, one of whom was a four-year-old boy," Dangane said. "The bomb was powerful because the market's ceiling was ripped apart."

Dangane said the stall where the bomb was planted was also "a total wreck".

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo condemned the attack and ordered authorities to hunt down the perpetrators.

"We condemn in the strongest possible term the attack," she said in a statement. "There is no justification whatsoever for this heinous deed."

Investigators have not yet determined the type of explosives used or identified possible suspects in the attack.

Lieutenant General Alberto Braganza, chief of the military's southern command, said troops have been dispatched to augment police forces in the area.

"Our troops are coordinating with the police to determine the type of explosive used in the attack," he said. "The troops were also alerted to guard against other attacks."

The last major attack was in April 2002, when 15 people were killed and dozens injured in a bombing at a crowded shopping mall.

That attack was blamed on al-Qaeda-linked Moslem Abu Sayyaf rebels, but officials said the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah helped plan, finance and implement the bombing.

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