6 dead as Philippines blast hits doctors at bistro

Six people were killed and more than 40 wounded in the Philippines when a bomb struck a restaurant filled with doctors after a national convention, police said today. Police said the improvised explosive device went off around midnight yesterday at a popular restaurant in the southern port city of Cagayan de Oro.

Most of the victims were doctors and pharmaceutical salesmen who had just attended a national convention of lung-disease specialists at a nearby hotel, said the city police chief, Senior Superintendent Graciano Mijares.

"This is one of the busiest areas of Cagayan de Oro. somebody left a bomb on a chair at the bistro," he told reporters. He declined to speculate on the motive for the bombing, saying an investigation was under way.

Cagayan de Oro is located on the main southern island of Mindanao, which has been blighted by a decades-old rebellion by elements of the large Muslim minority in the mainly Catholic Asian nation.

Local businessman Noel Arcenas, who owns an electronics shop at the shopping complex where the restaurant is located, said at least 100 people were inside the bistro when the explosion occurred.

"I felt then heard the blast," said Arcenas, who added he was standing about 15 metres (49 feet) away. "I looked around and saw this ball of white smoke. People were running away bloodied and survivors were dragging at least seven or eight people away from the blast site."

The powerful explosion broke glass panels, upturned tables and chairs, and damaged cars parked up to 30 metres away, reporters at the scene said. The six dead included two doctors as well as local politician Roldan Lagbas, a member of the provincial executive board of Misamis Oriental province, police said.

Forty-six other people were taken to area hospitals for treatment, said regional military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Leo Bongosia in an updated tally. President Benigno Aquino's government denounced the attack.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.