ASSIST News Service
PO Box 2126
Garden Grove
CA 92842-2126


October 29, 2001


By: Noel T. Tarrazona
      ASSIST Correspondent for Southeast Asia

ZAMBOANGA CITY, PHILIPPINES -- At least two powerful bombs exploded at the heart of this City killing 9 persons including a 14-year-old girl, and injuring 21 others.

The bombs exploded almost simultaneously before 8:00 last night at the hallway of Puericulture Center (food stand), 25 meters away from the City's largest catholic cathedral, the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral.

Military intelligence disclosed that the bomb explosions can only be the handiwork of the Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist arm of Osama Bin Laden operating in the Southern Philippines.

However, military officials are still looking for more evidence to trace the real culprit of those responsible in the terror attack.

More than 20 Abu Sayyaf members were killed in Basilan when Philippine soldiers launched a military offensive there. The Abu Sayyaf is still holding captive American Christian missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham of New Tribes Mission,  and 8 Filipino hostages.

There are speculations that the explosions are the handiwork of the Abu Sayyaf bomb experts trained in Afghanistan who have to do diversionary tactics aimed at diverting military attention in Basilan Province.

City Vice Mayor Erbie Fabian said that the bomb explosion was purposively aimed at Christians in the City.

Another angle that is being looked into is to scare American military officers who are in this City to assess  terrorism situation in Basilan.

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

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