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Philippines: Terrorist violence on Christmas eve with attack in front of Cathedral

Twenty-two people were injured in the bombing in this mostly Christian country that is plagued by a militant Islamic insurgency on the southern island of Mindanao. Please pray for God’s mercy and comfort upon the victims. And pray that those who believe that they are doing a righteous deed by killing Christians at prayer would turn in repentance and lay down their arms.

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in the Philippines, see here.

“ASIA/PHILIPPINES – Terrorist violence on Christmas eve: attack in front of the Cathedral,” Agenzia Fides, December 23, 2019:

Cotabato (Agenzia Fides) – Terrorist violence has bloodied the Southern Philippines on Christmas eve: yesterday, on the evening of December 22, during Sunday Mass, a bomb exploded outside Cotabato Cathedral, a city on the island of Mindanao in the south of the Philippines.

22 people were injured in the explosion. Among them there were 12 soldiers who were employed in the patrol of the church, one of the security measures adopted during the Christmas holidays.

A second bomb attack occurred a short distance away, injuring a passer-by.

“It is a cowardly act on the eve of the Christmas celebrations. The Church strongly condemns these attacks on people and churches”, reports Father Zaldy Robles, a Catholic priest serving in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Cotabato, to Agenzia Fides.

Father Robles tells Fides that the explosion occurred when Sunday mass was underway; people, in a panic, took refuge in the church. Despite the climate of tension and fear, church leaders urged the local population “not to be afraid to celebrate Christmas with joy and courage”.

In another province, Maguindanao, a bomb was detonated in the city of Upi, injuring two people. A bomb was then dropped at a local police station but did not explode. The army and police have stepped up their investigations to look for the perpetrators of these serial explosions. “Security measures have been strengthened”, said the mayor of Cotabato, Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi.

According to Major Arvin Encinas, spokesman for the Western Army Command in Mindanao, terrorist groups such as the “Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters” (BIFF) or linked to the self-styled “Islamic State” (Isis) may be behind the attacks….

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