By Mark Navales and Jeoffrey Maitem
At least one person was killed and 15 others were wounded when a home-made bomb exploded in the southern Philippines on Sunday night, in a second fatal attack targeting the same town in less than a week, the military said.
Officials said the bomb was planted near a pawnshop in Isulan town, the capital of Sultan Kudarat province on Mindanao island. Of the wounded, three were in critical condition, Capt. Arvin Encinas, a local spokesman for the army said, adding that fatality had been identified as an 18-year-old boy.
“The wounded are currently being given medical attention at Isulan hospitals while those in critical condition have been evacuated to a hospital in General Santos,” he said, referring to the larger city of General Santos, also located in the south.
“Combined military and police troops have locked up Isulan,” Encinas added in a message to reporters, saying that government forces had not pinpointed any suspects yet.
The attack came as security forces were on heightened alert after pro-Islamic State (IS) militants bombed Isulan on Aug. 28, killing three people and wounding dozens more. Last week’s attack occurred as the town was holding a fiesta to celebrate the anniversary of Isulan’s founding.
Weeks earlier, IS claimed a suicide bomb attack on the island of Basilan that left 11 people dead.
Last year, pro-IS fighters laid siege to Marawi, the mostly Catholic country’s only predominantly Muslim city. Five months of intense fighting there left 1,200 dead, mostly militants.
The crisis ended with the killing in October last year of Isnilon Hapilon, the IS chief in the southern Philippines. Martial law, however, remains in effect over the entire south until the end of this year.
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