Home » 4 dead and 42 injured in an attack with explosives during a mass in the southern Philippines

4 dead and 42 injured in an attack with explosives during a mass in the southern Philippines

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4 dead and 42 injured in an attack with explosives during a mass in the southern Philippines

Three dead and nine injured in an attack with explosives during a Catholic mass in the southern Philippines.

On a Sunday that should have been one of prayer and reflection, violence broke out in Marawi, the largest Muslim city in the Philippines. During a mass at the Mindanao State University gymnasium, an explosion left at least three dead and nine injured.

The explosion, whose perpetrator is unknown, occurred in a gymnasium at the University of Mindanao where a religious event was being held, attended by dozens of people.

Many of those attending were university students, said investigative police officer Aliasgar Binaning, noting that the authorities have launched an operation to determine who is behind the attack, according to the Rappler news portal.

“We are investigating whether it is an improvised explosive device or the throwing of a grenade,” said regional police chief Allan Nobleza.

The University of Mindanao is “deeply saddened and shocked by the act of violence that occurred during a religious gathering,” the institution said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The injured were taken to nearby hospitals.

“We unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms condemn this horrible and senseless act,” the educational entity stressed when announcing the suspension of classes until further notice.

“We are working closely with local government units and law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident and bring the perpetrators to justice,” the university said.

Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra called on the Muslim and Christian communities to stay united.

“Our city has long been a beacon of peaceful coexistence and harmony, and we will not allow acts of violence to tarnish our collective commitment to peace and unity,” Gandamra declared, condemning the attack.

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Images released on Facebook by the Lanao del Sur provincial government showed Governor Mamintal Adiong visiting the “wounded victims” of the attack at a medical center.

This incident comes after the Philippine military launched an airstrike on Friday that killed 11 Islamist militants from the Dawlah Islamiyah-Philippines organization in Mindanao.

In 2017, Marawi was the scene of a bloody confrontation after jihadist groups related to the Islamic State (IS) partially took over the city on May 23, where they entered with IS flags and standards.

For five months, the Philippine Army fought street by street with the extremists until they managed to liberate the city, in a battle where more than 1,200 people died – 978 jihadists, 168 soldiers and 87 civilians.

With nearly 20 percent of the Muslim population, the southern island of Mindanao has been the scene of conflicts between the Government and various extremist groups for decades, including the jihadist organization Abu Sayaf and the Maute Group, both affiliated with IS.

Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao del Sur are part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, an area marked by decades of instability and attacks on buses, Catholic churches and public markets.

Although Manila signed a peace pact with the country’s largest rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in 2014, ending its armed rebellion, smaller groups opposed to the peace deal still persist, including militants who profess loyalty to the Islamic State. Communist rebels also operate in the region.

(With information from EFE and AFP)

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