At least 13 killed in Philippines bomb

 

A Christmas Eve bomb attack by suspected Islamic militants has killed at least 13 people in the southern Philippines.

The bomb went off at the home of Mayor Saudie Ampatuan in the Maguindanao province town of Datu Pianga during a gathering honouring a dead relative.

Mr Ampatuan later died of his injuries. Among the dead were a councillor, the town's treasurer and a bodyguard.

The military suspects the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels for carrying out the attack.

But an MILF spokesman denied involvement, saying the mayor had many personal and political enemies.

"There is no reason for us to do that because the mayor is not our enemy," he said. "In fact many of those injured are my relatives."

The rebels, who have signed a ceasefire with the government, have been fighting for Muslim self-rule in the southern Philippines for nearly three decades.

But they are believed to be lacking support of prominent Muslim families for their struggle.

AP