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Apr 24 2007

USAID Headquarters Attacked In Southern Philippines, 3 Wounded!

COTABATO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Apr) – A grenade attack in the restive southern Philippine region of Mindanao injured three people working for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), officials said on Wednesday.Major General Raymundo Ferrer, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Infantry Division, said one of two grenades exploded in front of the USAID office in North Cotabato’s Pikit town.“Three people – two engineers and a contractor, all Filipinos – were injured in the blast and we are still investigating the motive of the attack. We have strengthened security in the province and other areas where foreign aid workers are operating,” Ferrer told the regional Mindanao Examiner newspaper.The attack, he said, occurred late Tuesday. «One of two grenades lobbed at the USAID office exploded,» he said.No group claimed responsibility for the attack.The three victims – Mario Tabaosares, 26; Alfredo Cabardo, 53, both engineers, and Damrod Dalandangan, 28, — were rushed to hospital.The three men were working on a USAID program called Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM). It aims to accelerate economic growth in the region and help assure that as many people as possible benefit from the economic growth and that the benefits are equitably distributed.GEM also help bring about and consolidate peace in Mindanao. It was unknown if the attack would affect US aid in the southern Philippines. The United States, Australia and Canada have warned of impending attacks in Mindanao and told their citizens not to travel to the southern Philippines because of heightened terror activities.But the Philippine military on Tuesday said it has no reports about an impending terror attacks by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Mindanao.“It is relatively peaceful in many parts of Mindanao. We have not received reports about any specific threats,” a military spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro.But a bomb explosion injured person last Sunday in Midsayap town in the troubled North Cotabato province.Authorities said the bomb, assembled from a mortar rocket rigged to a timer, exploded on a roadside, wounding a woman. Police held two people in connection with the attack.A man was also killed after a bomb he was transporting exploded in Cotabato City.Last week, Abu Sayyaf militants whose group is tied to Al-Qaeda, beheaded six construction workers and a fisherman they kidnapped in Parang town in Jolo island. Lounge lingerie

The beheading came just four days after Jolo governor Benjamin Loong rejected the Abu Sayyaf demand of five million pesos ransom in exchange for the lives of the hostages, six of them were workers of the politician in his construction firm. (With reports from Mark Navales and Juley Reyes)

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