Philippines: Mindanao Suffers Continued Terrorist Attacks

Monday, March 10, 2003

Washington, DC (Christian Aid) -- Terrorists apparently have stepped up their attacks on Mindanao Island in southern Philippines.

"There is war in Cotabato City, and four explosions in Davao City hit a gas station, the airport, a health center, and the nearby bus terminal," said a ministry leader in the region told Christian Aid last week. "Please pray for peace on our island, and that the terrorists turn to Jesus and get saved."

The report follows a terrorist attack March 4 in which a bomb left in a backpack in the crowded outdoor waiting shed at Davao City Airport went off killing at least 21, including three American missionaries, and filling the hospital with about 150 maimed and injured. "Lifeless bodies were tossed through the air like rag dolls. Blood was everywhere," the Christian leader told Christian Aid. Davao is the Philippines' second-largest city and the largest on Mindanao.

Islamic militants have been fighting for a separate Islamic homeland in southern Philippines since 1972. There are 5 million Muslims in Mindanao and adjacent small islands, though Davao City is mainly Christian (mostly Roman Catholic). The army began a new offensive against the Mindanao Islamic Liberation Front on 10 February in which some 200 rebels are reported to have been killed and over 80,000 local residents displaced.

A Christian school with 163 students in the area is now checking all bags and staff is on alert. Christian Aid assists several Christian ministries in the affected region. To learn more, contact and put MI-410 810-BLC on the subject line.