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Grenade attack on Philippines church injures six

Elderly people among victims in Zamboanga blast

Grenade attack on Philippines church injures six

Soldiers man a checkpoint in Zamboanga City (photo by Joe Torres) reporter, Zamboanga City

February 3, 2014

At least six people were injured on Sunday after men on motorcycles threw a grenade into a Catholic church in restive Zamboanga, a southern Philippines city known for Muslim rebel activity.

Two unidentified men launched their attack during a meeting of 30 elderly residents on Sunday morning, authorities said.

The men later fled towards the city center, said a police report. There was no known motive for the attack in a city where more than 70 percent are Christian and less than a quarter Muslim in a region wracked by separatist violence in recent decades.

The Mindanao Human Rights Action Center condemned the incident, saying it is "not only a violation of domestic and international humanitarian law, it also prevents us from building a mutually tolerant pluralistic society and further fans the flames of the conflict".

Although the government signed a landmark peace deal with the Mindanao Islamic Liberation Front last week, other Islamist rebel groups remain active in the southern Philippines.

On Saturday, a television reporter and a cameraman were among 12 people injured in a roadside explosion in Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao province. The military blamed the rebel Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters which was engaged in a weeklong firefight with government troops.

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