Red Lingerie

Sep 15 2007

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 15 Sept) – A bomb exploded Saturday in the southern Philippines barely two days after Australia warned its citizens of a possible terrorist attacks in the troubled region, police said.

Police said one person was wounded in the blast in Cotabato City. The bomb, planted under a Coca-Cola delivery truck parked in downtown Cotabato, exploded at around 12.30 p.m., said police desk officer Jose Dimaano.

“One person, Omar Salik, was injured in the blast. He was just passing near the truck when the bomb exploded,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.

The police officer said the explosive was left at the truck’s water container probably mistaken as petrol tank by the bomber. The truck’s left side was damaged by the blast, police said.

“We are just lucky that it was the water container and not the petrol tank where the bomb was planted or else the blast and shrapnel and broken bottles could hurt or even kill more people,” he said.

Police forces in Cotabato City have doubled security. Red Lingerie

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Australian government warned Thursday that terrorists may strike on civilian targets and power installations in Mindanao island.

Australia warned its citizens not to travel to Mindanao because of credible threats of terrorism. It said terrorists may also strike in the Philippine capital.

“We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines because of the high threat of terrorist attack. We continue to receive credible reports that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners,” it said on a travel warning posted on the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Security forces remain in heightened alert because of the political situation and insurgency problems in the Philippines.

“We have not received any reports that terrorists are planning to attack power installations or populated centers, but troops are always in alert. Mindanao is generally peaceful,” Army Maj. Eugene Batara, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said.

In central Mindanao, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said it has no intelligence reports about a possible terror attacks on civilian targets and power infrastructure in the south.

“It is peaceful now in many parts of Mindanao. People are confident about the peace and order and our forces are troops are always prepared and ready to fight terrorism, with or without the Australian travel warning,” Lt. Col. Julieto Ando, a regional army spokesman, said in a separate interview.

Last week, authorities arrested three Filipinos in Zamboanga City and another in General Santos City, all in southern Philippines, for their links to terrorism.

Three of those arrested — Marjuni Amala, Aristalon Isniril and Ronely Ahman — were suspected as Abu Sayyaf members and behind a bomb attack in Zamboanga City on Aug. 21 that injured 16 people.

Authorities also arrested suspected Jemaah Islamiya member Maipasagi Gani in General Santos City who was planning to bomb the KCC Mall on Tuesday to coincide with the commemoration of the September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda attacks in the United States. Police seized two homemade bombs from Gani.

The Philippine military is also holding an Indonesian terror suspect who was arrested in the province of Palawan, southwest of Manila.

The man was one of six suspected Abu Sayyaf militants arrested since last week in a crackdown on suspected terrorists in the Philippines.

Authorities were investigating the man whom military interrogators believed is a member of the Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiya, blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

The foreigner, believed to be connected with Jemaah Islamiya bomber, Dulmatin, is being held by military authorities in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines.

Filipino security forces were tracking down Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants, including Dulmatin and Umar Patek, both tagged by Jakarta as behind the Bali bombings; and Zulkifli bin Hir, who are hiding in the southern Philippines. (Mark Navales and Juan Magtanggol)

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