Night market bombing in Philippines kills 2, injures 37

By Maecy Alviar

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (AA) – At least two people died and 37 others were injured when a bomb exploded late Tuesday during a celebration in the southern Philippines.

The bomb went off in a densely populated area in the town of Isulan in Sultan Kudarat province where a night market and other activities are being held this week at the Hamungaya Festival in commemoration of the town’s founding anniversary.

Based on an initial investigation, the bomb was placed on a motorcycle parked in the area and went off as a military truck passed by.

Two other improvised explosive devices were diffused nearby.

Among the injured were two army soldiers securing the area.

“It seems the enemies are targeting the security forces guarding the festival activity,” Captain Arvin Encinas of the Army’s 6th Division said as quoted by local media.

No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, though the town’s police chief, Superintendent Celestino Daniel, said an initial probe points to "a few people”.

Encinas also hinted that the Daesh-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is the only group with “the strongest desire to initiate this kind of attack”.

The BIFF is a breakaway group of around 1,000 armed followers fighting for an independent Moro state, named after the region's indigenous Muslims in the south. Its members are mostly rag-tag rebels who engage in extortion, kidnapping, robbery and bombings.

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