Two powerful explosions believed to be from home-made bombs ripped through a motel and a cock-fighting arena in the southern Philippines on Sunday, wounding eight people, police said.
The first explosion at noon tore through the ground floor of the two-storey Red Palm inn in Zamboanga, a port city in the troubled southern island of Mindanao, where Islamist militants operate.
“It was a huge explosion. Six of my friends were injured and taken away for medical help after a wall fell on them after the explosion,” said hotel guest and witness Roland Teofilo, who escaped unharmed.
“I believe the blast happened below our room.”
Police suspect the explosion was caused by a bomb, said local commander Superintendent Arthur Larudis, but no group has yet claimed esponsibility for the attack.
As bomb experts sifted through the hotel’s damaged ground floor, arudis said another explosion hit an arena that hosted cock fights nearby, injuring two people.
He could not comment on the extent of the damage in the second blast, or whether the two incidents were connected.
Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants are known to operate on Basilan island just across the strait from Zamboanga, and they have previously been blamed for attacks in the city.
The group, composed of no more than 400 fighters according to military intelligence reports, has also behind a spate of bombings and high-profile kidnappings in the south in recent years.