EXPLOSION AT BOXING MATCH — Details are vague, but an explosion today (Wednesday, Dec. 28) at a boxing show in the Philippines reportedly injured at least 23 people. The first reports mentioned that 10 people had died. Subsequent reports mentioned 35 wounded, but no deaths. Most of those wounded were reportedly hit by shrapnel below the knee. Their injuries were not life-threatening. It’s not known if any of the injured were boxers.
The explosion occurred shortly after 9 pm local time at an outdoor plaza in the city of Hilongos. Home to about 65,000 people, Hilongos sits roughly 380 miles from Manila. The city is the commercial and cultural center of the province of Leyte.
This was not a major boxing event. It got no mention on BoxRec. The scheduled bouts were part of a larger event, an annual Roman Catholic festival.
According to the police, the explosion was caused by a cellphone-detonated homemade bomb. There apparently were two explosions, the second much weaker because the second bomb, although designed to create more devastation, was improperly constructed.
No motive has been established, but terrorism has become a growing threat to public safety in much of the Philippines. On Sept. 2, a bomb attack at a crowded market in Davao City, Mindanao, killed more than a dozen people. Eleven weeks later, the police de-activated an improvised explosive device discovered near the U.S. embassy in Manila. The British government warns its citizens to tread carefully when traveling in the Philippines, punctuating this advisory by noting that the government has a longstanding policy of refusing to pay ransom for the release of kidnap victims.
Hilongos, which the locals describe as a quiet town, has had no previous incidents of terrorism. However, local authorities are stepping up security in the wake of the bombing. There is unease in the city as more festivals ring in the New Year.
We will update this story as new details become available.
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