Bomb attack during Catholic Mass in the Philippines
Four people were killed and about fifty more wounded in a deadly attack during a Catholic Mass in the Philippines.
A bomb attack was carried out in Southern Philippines on Sunday, December 3. The improvised explosive device, as the police described it, detonated during the Sunday Mass at Mindanao State University in Marawi, the country’s largest Muslim city.
Mindanao State University condemned “the act of violence” in a statement.
“We stand in solidarity with our Christian community and all those affected by this tragedy,” the university said.
University student Chris Jurado, 21, said that the explosion happened at 7 am during the first Bible reading of the morning Mass. He said,
“It was really sudden, and everyone ran.” “When I looked behind me, people were lying on the floor. We didn’t know what happened because everything happened so fast.”
Another student, Rowena Mae Fernandez, 19, said she didn’t know what the explosion was at first, but then others started running. She said,
“My companion and I also ran, even though we fell on the ground at one point. That was the only thing I remembered until I got out of the gym and I fell again.” “My friends were crying because they saw my injury.”
The country’s president, Ferdinand Marcos, condemned the attack by “foreign terrorists” and described it as “senseless” and “heinous”. The major of Marawi City, Majul Gandamra, urged the Muslim and Christian communities to stand united. In a statement condemning the attack, he said,
“Our city has long been a beacon of peaceful coexistence and harmony, and we will not allow such acts of violence to overshadow our collective commitment to peace and unity.”
The police were still investigating whether the attack was revenge for the Philippine military operation against Islamist militants on Friday. On another thread, it is not excluded that the remnants of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf militant groups, who had held Marawi under siege in 2017, were involved in the attack.
Back in May 2017, pro-Islamic-State fighters captured the city and only after a five-month-long battle, which claimed more than a thousand lives, the Philippine military was able to reclaim the city.
Marawi is located in Lanao del Sur province and part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The country’s Muslim minority was given self-rule in this region by former president Rodrigo Duterte as an attempt to cease violent extremism. In 2014, the government signed a peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country’s largest rebel group, ending their armed rebellion. However, remnants and smaller rebel groups are still opposing the peace and carrying on the decades-long conflict in the region.