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Blast in Philippine bus terminal kills 4

A powerful homemade bomb exploded at a bus terminal in the southern Philippines, killing at least four people and wounding 21 others.

world Updated: Sep 01, 2008 16:02 IST

A powerful homemade bomb exploded at a bus terminal in the southern Philippines on Monday, killing at least four people and wounding 21 others, officials said.

The blast in Digos city in Davao del Sur province occurred inside a bus owned by a company that has been targeted by extortionists in the past, leading authorities to believe an extortion racket was responsible, said Superintendent Francisco Villaroman, the regional police intelligence officer.

The provincial hospital said four people died in the explosion and 21 were wounded, some seriously. Among them was a 3-year-old girl, but the extent of her injuries was not immediately known.

Regional police Chief Andres Caro said investigators were collecting debris and bomb fragments at the scene in an effort to reconstruct the device used in the attack.

Villaroman told The Associated Press that a notorious extortion gang named Al Khobar had demanded USD 11,100 plus USD 1100 monthly payment from the bus company in July. When the management refused, the extortionists bombed a bus in Digos on July 23, killing one person and wounding 32 others, he said.

The group has been terrorizing bus companies and has been blamed for several bus bombings in the area. Officials say the group has ties to Muslim militants, who are active in the region.