Quiapo blast injures 14 as regional leaders gather


    Fourteen people were wounded in a pipe bomb blast in Quiapo, Manila, police said Saturday, but authorities dismissed any link to the meeting of Southeast Asian leaders.

    The explosion happened late Friday about five kilometers from the heavily guarded Philippine International Convention Center complex where Association of Southeast Asian (Asean) leaders were meeting, and police said they were investigating the possibility it was a revenge assault.

    Metro Manila police director Oscar Albayalde said the blast on Quezon Boulevard corner Soler Street Extension likely stemmed from a gang war.

    “Initially, we gathered that this started with the mauling of a minor by three individuals. The pipe bomb came as a revenge to the three,” Albayalde said.

    A relative of the 14-year-old boy injured in the mauling earlier in the week had made public threats, police spokeswoman Chief Insp. Kimberly Molitas said.

    She described the device as a “homemade pipe bomb” stuffed with low-grade explosives, like the ones used to make firecrackers. No one has been arrested.

    “The incident is not in any way connected to or directed (at) the ongoing ASEAN summit,” Ernesto Abella, spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte, said in a statement.

    “We assure our people that security measures are in place in today’s event and ask the public for their full understanding and cooperation in this regard.”

    The Philippines is fighting Islamic militants based in the country’s south who have been blamed by police in the past for deadly bombings as well as kidnappings.

    Of the 14 people hurt, six were treated for minor wounds and sent home, while eight others remained in hospital, two of them with serious injuries, Molitas said.

    The injured were brought to the Philippine General Hospital, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Mary Chiles Hospital and Sampaloc Hospital.

    A closed-circuit television video showed two men on a motorcycle stopping at the site before the blast.
    Albayalde said the bombing was not connected with terrorist groups because of the type of explosive used and the damage it caused.

    “Rest assured that the incident is not in any way connected or directed to the ongoing Asean summit. Further, I assure [the public]that the region is safe and secure for our local and international delegates. Security measures are in place,” he said.

    with AFP


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