Blasts in southern Philippines kill 2, wound 26

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MANILA, Oct 5 (Reuters) Two bombs exploded within a minute of each other in a market in the southern Philippines today, killing at least two people and wounding 26, the army and police said.

The blasts occurred in the town of Kidapawan, in the southern region of Mindanao, a known hotbed of violence linked to extortion and to Muslim extremism. The town is 960 km (600 miles) south of the capital Manila.

Police Inspector Benjamin Mauricio told local radio that a man fleeing from the scene was taken into custody, but gave no other details.

Military chief General Hermogenes Esperon told Reuters that extremists out to sabotage peace talks between the government and the country's biggest Islamic rebel group were most likely responsible.

''There are people who are against the peace talks,'' he said.

The talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have been stalled for over a year, but both sides are making efforts to resume negotiations later this month.

REUTERS JK KP1846

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