Twin bomb blasts in Zamboanga City injure 11

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Sunday, October 9, 2011


ZAMBOANGA CITY (2nd Update, 3:51 p.m.) -- Twin explosions Sunday afternoon hurt 11 people, including three boxers and a referee, in this city, the police reported.

The nearly simultaneous blasts ripped through a room inside the hotel and at the cockfighting arena around noon in the city, which was celebrating the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival, said City Mayor Celso Lobregat.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the two blasts.

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The first explosion happened around 12:25 p.m. at the San Roque cockfighting arena in the village of San Roque, west of the city, Army Colonel Buenaventura Pascual said.

Five people were hurt in the blast that damaged the left upper portion of the cockpit.

The bomb was detonated just as the cockfights were about to start.

Those injured were Ricky Gaganacruz, Crisaldo Dela Peña, Marlon Candido, Ike Castiri, and Ediron Sandoval.

Lorna Heramis said she and her three employees were preparing to open her food stall when a loud blast ripped through the arena about an hour before it was to open for weekend cockfighting, which usually draws large numbers of customers. The blast damaged the roof of her stall, but she and her employees managed to escape uninjured.

"We heard a deafening explosion, then there was darkness and a fire," Heramis told The Associated Press by telephone. "I hugged my employees, and we saw three bloodied men running away from the cockpit arena."

The second explosion happened around 12:30 p.m. at a room in Red Palm Pension house in the village of Guiwan, which houses amateur boxers from Maranding, Lanao del Norte and from Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte.

The victims were set to participate in Monday's "Golpe-Golpe na Zamboanga" (Boxing in Zamboanga City), one of the activities lined up for the city's Zamboanga Hermosa Festival 2011.

Hurt were Marvin Artes, boxing referee; Speedy Jim Boy Bantisel and Ronie Munding, both boxers from Maranding, Lanao del Norte; Jerome Tuyor and Jeffrey Jimenez, boxers from Dipolog City and Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur, respectively; and Christopher Delos Reyes, bakeshop employee.

The victims were resting at a room in the second floor of the pension house.

Second district Representative Erico Basilio Fabian, the main sponsor of the Golpe-Golpe na Zamboanga, said the boxing event will push but "there will be lesser number of bouts."

Explosive Ordnance Demolition personnel are shifting through the debris at the two explosion sites to determine the bomb components used.

Mayor Lobregat convened the City Peace and Order Council to review the security measures of the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival 2011.

Zamboanga Hermosa Festival is the festival of the patron saint of the city, Nuestra Señora del Pilar. (With AP/Sunnex)

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