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Philippines: One killed, 15 injured in second Isulan bombing in five days

An explosion ripped through an internet cafe in the southern Philippines on Sunday, killing one person and injuring 15 in the second deadly blast to strike the same city in days, authorities said.

The explosion in Isulan in Sultan Kudarat province on Mindanao island was just a few hundred meters away from where a bomb under a motorcycle exploded, killing three and wounding dozens on August 28.

Philippine National Police Director Oscar Albayalde said the attack occurred at 7:35 p.m. on Sunday, September 2, adding that security in the area would be increased.

The mayor’s office of Isulan and the military said one person was killed in the explosion and 15 were wounded, four of whom were in critical condition.

Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana of the Army’s 6th infantry division said the improvised explosive device exploded between an internet cafe and a department store, CNN Philippines reported.

Islamist militants have been fighting a decades-long insurgency in the southern Philippines.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s bombing, but authorities were quick to blame the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

“It is the BIFF who is responsible,” Sobejana told AFP. “This group is out to sow chaos.”

The two attacks come a month after a van bomb blast ripped through a military checkpoint on the neighboring island of Basilan, killing 10 people. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that bombing and authorities believe the man behind the wheel of the explosives-laden van may have intended to target a nearby children’s parade.

The recent blasts follow President Rodrigo Duterte’s government enacting a law to create greater autonomy for the Muslim minority in the south which is hoped to help end the conflict. Some have expressed concerns the law could encourage some militant factions to attack in an effort to derail the peace efforts.

Several armed groups are active against government forces in the south of the Southeast Asian country, where a decades-long rebellion has claimed more than 100,000 lives by government count.

Last year another group pledging allegiance to ISIS occupied the Mindanao city of Marawi and fought a bloody conflict with U.S.-backed Philippine government forces for five months, leaving more than 1,100 people dead.

In response to the violence, President Rodrigo Duterte put Mindanao under an emergency order until the end of 2018.

But sporadic fighting has continued as a network of rebel groups operating on the island splinters, even after the main militant organisation the Moro Islamic Liberation Front engaged in peace talks.

With reporting from AFP

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