Nov 162014

An improvised explosive device (IED) exploded late Sunday on a pedestrian overpass in the restive southern Philippines, wounding eight people, local authorities said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack in the town of Kabacan on Mindanao island where various Muslim extremist groups are active.

“Three of the victims are in a critical condition due to shrapnel injuries,” David Saure, a municipal disaster official, told reporters.

Police said they had no immediate suspects.

Kabacan, an agricultural town of more than 80,000 people, is located near an area home to Muslim rebels opposed to a peace settlement between the government and the country’s largest Islamic militant group.

On Friday police said two people, including a girl, an were killed in neighbouring Pikit town when the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) fired mortar shells at soldiers and police who were trying to arrest one of the group’s leaders.

The BIFF split from the main Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), in 2008 as the MILF engaged in peace talks with the government.

The 10,000-strong MILF signed a peace agreement with the government in March but the BIFF, which is believed to have just a few hundred fighters, has rejected the agreement.

It has vowed to fight on for a separate Islamic state in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines.

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