1 killed in GenSan blast

The fatality, known so far as "Glenn," was the suspected carrier of the explosive device that went off  at around 10:45 p.m., some 200 meters from where thousands of people were gathered at the oval plaza for the culmination of the Kalilangan festival, said Senior Supt. Robert Po, city police director.

"Fortunately, he did not get past our security points, otherwise, many could have been killed," Po told reporters two hours after the blast.

The explosion that escaped the notice of majority of merrymakers tore the lower portion of the victim's body.

People at the oval plaza did not notice or hear the explosion, as boisterous music from giant loudspeakers filled the air.

Based on initial investigation, Po said the suspected bomb carrier could be a vendor who was supposedly asked to bring in the explosive inside a bag to the massive crowd but failed to get in because of the strict security.

However, initial post blast investigation revealed that the improvised explosive device "was not designed to inflict maximum damage," he said.

Mayor Pedro Acharon, Jr., rushed to the scene more than an hour after the explosion and also told reporters that the fatality could have been the bomb carrier.

"Because of the strict security measures our law enforcers implemented, he was not able to enter the crowd. Luckily, the (apparently) timed explosive device exploded while he was still in a not well-crowded place," the mayor told reporters.

Po said the local police received no threat from any groups to stage a bomb attack in the city.

So far, nobody also claimed responsibility for the explosion that could have killed many had the suspected bomb carrier been able to mix with the crowd.

Wednesday night's explosion was the second to hit this city, touted as the "Tuna Capital of the Philippines," in less than a month.

Last January 30, a powerful blast outside the compound of the Philbest Canning Corp. killed  four people and injured 27 others.

Authorities said the attack on Philbest was not an "act of terrorism" since the tuna firm is located far from the heart of the city.

The extortion group Al Khobar Gang owned up to the bomb attack allegedly due to the refusal of the management to pay protection money to the group, Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco of Kidapawan City said. He claimed that a supposed member of Al Khobar called him up, using the same cellular phone number that was used to contact him after Kidapawan was also bombed last year. (MindaNews)