explosion in the southern Philippines that killed at least 5 people and injured 30 others, BosNewsLife learned Monday October 29.
Earlier reports had said 9 and possible 10 people were killed in the explosions near a food plaza in the city of Zamboanga late Sunday, but that toll was later revised by authorities downward. A second explosive device was also discovered near the plaza, however local officials said it was detonated safely.
26-year old Tarrazona, who investigates the plight of persecuted Christians in the troubled region, told that he was on his way to file a story from the city’s Internet Library, which he said "is just 10 metres away" from where the bomb exploded.
However at the last moment he "thought of going home first for a brief rest," after a Basketball game. When the Journalist was about to go, his uncle called his mother that a powerful bomb exploded in the heart of the city.
”Had I gone straight to the internet library from the basketball game, I don’t know what could happen to me," Tarrazona said. "I’m so thankful for the Lord’s protection. God has worked in ways we cannot see."
No one has claimed responsibility, but Colonel Francisco Gudani, a Philippine armed forces Southern Command spokesman, told a local radio station Monday October 29 that the bombing could have been carried out by the Abu Sayyaf rebel group.
The Aby Sayyaf, which claims to fight for an independent Islamic state in the southern Philippines, has been angered by a Government led offensive against its military operations on the on the islands of Jolo and nearby Basilan.
Christian Correspondent Tarrazona reported that more than 20 Abu Sayyaf members were killed recently in Basilan when Philippine soldiers launched a military offensive there. He said the Abu Sayyaf is still holding captive American Christian missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham of New Tribes Mission and 8 Filipino hostages.
OSAMA BIN LADEN
The rebel group is believed to have close ties to suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, and his sympathizers are also increasingly threatening Christians in especially Southeast Asia. In Pakistan at least 16 Christians were killed Sunday, October 29, when bearded men opened fire during a church service, the Cable News Network reported.
The attacks took place at the Church of Pakistan in Bahawalpur, about 230 miles (370 kilometres) southwest of Lahore, and were seen as an apparent retaliation for the U.S.-led air strikes against neighbouring Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan 24 detained Christian aidworkers, including eight Western and sixteen Afghans, are awaiting their trial in front of the Taliban regime’s court, for allegedly preaching the Gospel in this mainly Moslim nation.
Noel T. Tarrazona, 26, completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism at Ateneo University and his masteral studies in public administration at Western Mindanao State University. He tutors Journalism to young people who cannot afford to go to college. Noel can be reached at email firstname.lastname@example.org.