Blast outside Philippines’ shopping mall kills 2

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Manila, Dec 31  At least two people were killed and 23 others, including a four-year-old girl, were wounded in an explosion outside a shopping mall in the Philippines’ Cotabato City on Monday.

Cotabato City Police spokesman Christopher Lee told CNN there was a suspected “IED explosion” outside the South Seas Mall on the island of Mindanao.

The blast went off in the afternoon near a baggage counter outside the mall when hundreds of people were shopping for the New Year’s Eve revelry, said Guerlie Frondoza, a staff of the Cotabato city government.

An unidentified man dropped a wrapped box in the area shortly before the explosion, the police said, adding that another unexploded IED was recovered from the site. 

The police said they were investigating the incident and trying to identify the type of IED used by the perpetrators.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a Facebook post, Cotabato Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi called the blast an “act against humanity”.

“I strongly condemn the bombing incident that happened in front of South Seas Mall today, a day before the New Year, that took away several innocent lives and injured dozen others,” she wrote.

“This is not just another terrorist act but an act against humanity. I cannot fathom how such evil exists in this time of merry making,” added Guiani-Sayadi. – IANS

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