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Blast rocks market in Philippine south, 5 wounded

Written by: Staff

MANILA, May 12 (Reuters) A powerful blast ripped through a public market on the restive southern Philippine island of Mindanao today, wounding five people, including a three-year-old boy, police said.

Ramon Ochotorena, police chief of Zamboanga del Sur province, said the explosion, which damaged several fish and meat stalls at Margosatubig's public market, was triggered by a dispute among a group of drunken fishermen.

''This has nothing to do with terrorism,'' said Ochotorena as police officers rushed the victims to a hospital for gunpowder burns from what appeared to be dynamite sticks.

He said a group of fishermen were having drinks at a karaoke bar when a heated altercation ensued among them. Minutes later, an explosion rocked the market.

''Our initial investigation showed the explosive device was similar to dynamites used by fishermen in the area,'' Ochotorena said.

He said communist and Muslim rebels roam the interiors of the fishing town on the southern Mindanao island, troubled by nearly 40 years of rebellion that has killed over 160,000 people.


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