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Mindanao bomb blast wounds 7 soldiers

Attack follows recent wave of bombings that have killed at least 17 people

Mindanao bomb blast wounds 7 soldiers

The aftermath of  a roadside bomb explosion in Cotabato City on Monday that killed 9 people (photo by Ferdinandh Cabrera) reporter, Manila

August 7, 2013

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At least seven soldiers were wounded after a roadside bomb exploded in Maguindanao province today.

The blast in Shariff Aguak town was the latest in a series of bombings that have killed 17 people and injured almost 100 in the restive southern island of Mindanao over the past several days.

"The soldiers were heading to their camp [in a truck] when the bomb exploded," said Maguindanao police chief Rodelio Jocson. He said the explosion occurred at about 9:40 am.

Muslim guerrillas belonging to the rebel faction the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, which came 
hours after a predawn blast in front of a radio station in Midsayap town in North Cotabato province.

On Monday, nine people were killed and 40 injured in a bombing in Cotabato City. This attack came 10 days after another blast in Cagayan de Oro City that killed eight people and injured 50.

The spate of bombings prompted the country’s Catholic bishops' conference today to call for heightened security in churches.

"We can’t take the risk. We should do everything to secure the faithful," said Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, head of the conference's public affairs office. 

He also called on the government to "seriously address" the bombings to ensure people’s safety.

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Cotabato has condemned the series of attacks and urged the perpetrators to stop their "senseless attacks for the sake of the innocent civilians."

Regional police chief Charles Calima Jr said authorities suspect the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway faction of the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front, may be behind the bombings.

He said the group had been linked to several atrocities in the past, including attacks on paramilitary detachments and military outposts.

"If we look at the history of recent incidents in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, there are continuing atrocities by lawless elements," Calima said.

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