By Open Doors 13 December 2023 4 MIN

Philippines | Church Bombing

Church Bombing: Four Killed and 45 Injured in Philippines

A devastating explosion killed at least four people and injured 45 others during a bomb attack in a morning Catholic Mass at the state-run Mindanao State University (MSU) gymnasium in Marawi, Southern Philippines, on Sunday, 3 December. The casualties are composed of mostly students.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. condemned the deadly bombing on Sunday, stating, “I condemn in the strongest possible terms the senseless and most heinous acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists. Extremists who wield violence against the innocent will always be regarded as enemies to our society.” In response, police and the military have strengthened security measures in the country’s south and around the capital, Manila.

“Strong indications of a foreign element”

Defence Secretary, Gilberto Teodoro, revealed “strong indications of a foreign element” in the bombing, refusing to elaborate to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation. Fragments of a 16-mm mortar were recovered at the scene, as mentioned by senior police official, Emmanuel Peralta, during the press conference.

Armed Forces Chief Romeo Brawner suggested a possible link to recent military operations against local pro-Islamic State groups in the southern Philippines. The military chief stated that a Sunday operation in Lanao del Sur led to the killing of a leader of the Dawlah Islamiya-Maute group, raising the possibility that the morning bombing was a retaliatory attack.

Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. of Lanao Del Sur described the incident as a “violent bombing,” emphasising the horrific nature of the attack. The wounded, primarily students, are receiving care from medical professionals at the Amai Pakpak Medical Centre and the university’s infirmary.

Impact on Recent Converts

Amid this darkness, Precious*, one of the Muslim background believer leaders residing in the area, shared, “We are not afraid, but we are being more cautious, especially given the current situation.”

Mindanao, a region with both a Catholic majority and a sizable Muslim population, has endured previous challenges, including a prolonged siege by ISIS-affiliated militants in 2017 in Marawi, the city where the Mindanao State University is also located.

This is a developing story, and we will continue to keep those affected in our thoughts and prayers.

Pray for the Philippine Church

  • Pray for families and friends of those who lost their lives; may they find strength and solace in this difficult time.
  • Pray for the swift recovery of the more than 45 individuals injured, that they may receive the healing they need.
  • Pray for comfort and support for the Marawi community as they navigate this traumatic event.

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