ZAMBOANGA CITY: A suspected bomber was killed after an improvised explosive he was transporting accidentally went off on Tuesday evening in Pikit town in North Cotabato, officials said.
One civilian was also injured in the blast that occurred in front of a convenience store in the downtown area. The identity of the fatality was not immediately known.
The blast occurred just as a battalion of Marines arrived on Tuesday in nearby Maguindanao to augment Army troops in the province, scene of deadly clashes between police commandos and former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels last Sunday.
At least 44 commandos were killed in the fighting in Mamasapano town where police had been pursuing Filipino terrorist Basit Usman and Jemaah Islamiya bomber Zulkifli bin Hir, but reportedly intruded into MILF territories.
Just early this month, security forces disarmed an improvised explosive on a busy road also in Pikit town.
A series of explosions also toppled at least two power pylons in the province this month and authorities blamed the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group from the MILF, for the attack.
Late last year, a powerful bomb explosion injured more than a dozen people in downtown Kabakan, also in North Cotabato, after a mortar bomb went off outside a public school and soldiers and policemen recovered two more explosives nearby.