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Deadly Blast Hits Southern Philippines Waterfront - 2003-04-02


An explosion rocked a port in the southern Philippines, killing at least 13 people and injuring dozens more. This is the second blast to hit the city of Davao in a month.

The blast occurred outside the passenger terminal on the Davao City pier Wednesday evening. The area was crowded with arriving passengers. Witnesses say women and children are among the casualties. "A bomb exploded in front of the passenger terminal of the port, outside the premises of the terminal," said Davao Police Chief Colonel Conrado Laza.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for Wednesday's explosion, and no suspects have yet been named.

This is the second explosion in Davao in a month. On March 4, a bomb exploded at the waiting area of Davao International Airport, killing 21 people.

Police suspect a suicide bomber from the Muslim separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in the earlier attack, and arrest warrants have been issued for MILF members.

Davao police have been on heightened alert since the airport bombing, setting up checkpoints around major public installations. It is not yet clear how the explosive device used in the latest incident eluded police detection.

The southern Philippines has experienced a spate of other bombings in recent weeks in which several additional people have been hurt. The bombings began after the military launched an offensive against the MILF. Sporadic fighting between the two sides continues on the southern island of Mindanao.

Last week, the government and the MILF agreed to resume peace talks disrupted by the fighting.