MANILA, 7 Sep. (DPA / EP) –
At least seven people have been injured by the explosion of a homemade bomb in front of a public market in the southern Philippines on Saturday.
Military authorities believe that the explosive device was placed next to a motorcycle parked in front of the public market in the city of Isulan, in the province of Sultan Kudarat, 969 kilometers south of Manila.
The victims, among whom was a policeman, were taken to various nearby hospitals for several injuries, according to Army spokesman Arvin Encinas.
Encinas has indicated that the authorities are investigating the reason for the attack. The bombing has occurred several hours before a ceremony scheduled to begin in the nearby province of Maguindanao to begin the demobilization process of 12,000 combatants of the Moorish Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The MILF has been fighting for an independent Islamic state in the southern region of Mindanao since the late 1970s, although it accepted autonomy after several decades of negotiations.
In January, Mindanao voters ratified a law that created a new entity that would have greater autonomy on issues such as budgeting, income, natural resources, the administration of justice and public administration for Filipino Muslims.
The Muslim population in the Philippines accounts for less than 10 percent of the country's population, which is predominantly Catholic, and have often complained that the national government has neglected them.
The development of Mindanao has been hampered by decades of violence due to the Muslim separatist rebellion that has left hundreds of thousands dead.