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Blast kills military bomb expert in Philippines

July 28, 2013

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine marine ordnance expert was killed and two others were wounded when one of several bombs they were trying to defuse around a house exploded on restive Jolo island in the country’s south, a military commander said Sunday.

An ordnance team was deployed Saturday to a house of a village leader in the town of Panglima Estino on Jolo in Sulu province where residents reported finding more than 10 bombs made from ammonium nitrate around the residence. The marines had defused one bomb and were working on a second one, which suddenly exploded, marine Col. Jose Cenabre said.

The bombs may have been placed around the house like booby-traps due to a clan war involving the village leader, Cenabre said, adding that Abu Sayyaf extremists, who are active in Sulu, apparently were not involved.

Due to the explosion, Cenabre said he withdrew the marines and deployed an air force ordnance team, which defused two more bombs on Sunday. The new team, however, kept finding more bombs in the vicinity of the house, which had been cleared of its occupants, prompting the military to seek help from police, he said.

Such violent clan conflicts, known as “rido,” have long complicated security worries in the southern Philippines, which is already mired in decades-long Muslim rebellions.

The explosion was one of two deadly blasts in the south over the weekend. A homemade bomb went off in one of a row of upscale bars and restaurants in Cagayan de Oro city late Friday, killing six people and wounding more than 40 others, police said.

Among the dead were a provincial government official and a doctor who was unwinding in the crowded nightspot near a shopping mall after attending a medical convention, said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

Investigators have not determined if that attack was staged by terrorist groups or was sparked by rivalries among politicians or other groups. Roxas, who flew to the site of the blast, said Sunday that he was dismayed to find out that the scene of the explosion was immediately cleaned the next day after investigators scoured the area overnight.

“There were some lapses here,” Roxas said. “People did not only sweep the place. They scrubbed it.”

“I don’t know of any instance in the whole world where the blast site is released less than 12 hours after,” he said.

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