Seven soldiers hurt in new Philippine bomb blast

Two roadside bombs exploded in the southern Philippines on Wednesday, one of which wounded seven soldiers, police said, in the latest attack to hit the restive region.

The bombs came just two days after a powerful blast killed eight people in the mixed Muslim-Christian city of Cotabato on Monday.

"The soldiers had just left their detachment when they were hit by a roadside bomb," Senior Superintendent Rodelio Jocson, a local police chief said.

"They sustained minor injuries and were taken to a hospital," he said.

He said the bomb was planted along the road in the remote town of Shariff Saydona Mustapha, a mostly Muslim-populated area on the southern island of Mindanao.

Hours earlier, just before dawn, another bomb exploded in the town of Midsayap, also in Mindanao, although no one was injured.

Regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dickson Hermoso said it was too early to speculate whether Wednesday's bombs were linked.

However the latest incidents happened just less than 45 kilometres (28 miles) from the major trading town of Cotabato, where Monday's bomb attack occurred.

Police have said the Cotabato bomb attack may have been linked to local politics apparently targeting the sister of the city mayor, who was among the wounded.

President Benigno Aquino, however, said Tuesday that the attack may have been carried out by groups opposed to his government's peace talks with Mindanao's main rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

On July 26, another bomb also went off at a bistro in the Mindanao port city of Cagayan de Oro, leaving six dead and many injured.

The rash of bombings came a month after the United States, Australia and Canada warned its diplomatic staff against travelling to Cotabato and two other southern cities on Mindanao -- Zamboanga and Davao -- over fresh threats of terrorism.

The nature of the threat was not specified but related to "terrorist and insurgent activities", the US embassy had said.

 

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