2002 Zamboanga City bombings

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2002 Zamboanga City bombings
LocationFour separate locations in Zamboanga City
DateAugust 21, 2006; 12 years ago (2006-08-21)
TargetTwo department stores, Fort Pillar shrine and a karaoke bar/restaurant opposite a military base.
Deathsat least 11
at least 180
Perpetratorsunknown (MILF, Abu Sayyaf, and Jemaah Islamiyah suspected)

The 2002 Zamboanga bombings were a series of attacks perpetrated on the October 2, 17 and 21, 2002, around the southern Philippine port of Zamboanga City, Mindanao island.[1] Eleven people died and over 180 others were wounded in the four bomb attacks allegedly perpetrated by Islamic extremists with connections to the Abu Sayyaf insurgent group.[2][3]


October 2[edit]

A bomb blast in front of a Malagutay district[1] karaoke bar near a military arms depot[4] in Zamboanga City killed an American Green Beret commando and three Filipino civilians.[1][2] At least 25 other people, one of them another American trooper, were wounded in the blast.[5] Investigators were looking at the possibility of a suicide attack as the rider of a motorcycle where the explosives were rigged was among the fatalities.[5] A military intelligence report said the attack was staged by a "four-man urban terrorist group" of Abu Sayyaf, which has been linked to al-Qaeda. Philippine National Police chief Director General Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. stated the motorcycle driver had been identified as a member of Abu Sayyaf from a sketch based on witnesses' accounts and the body.[5] According to police, the bomb that exploded in Malagutay weighed around a kilo and contained "brownish" explosive that may have been a mixture of gunpowder and TNT.[1]

October 17[edit]

Two TNT bombs exploded around noon inside a shopping centre in the commercial district of Zamboanga City, when the mall was most busy, killing at least seven and wounding about 150 people.[3][6] Two department stores were devastated in the attack;[6] the first blast occurred at 11:30 a.m. at the Shop-o-Rama department store and was followed a half hour later by a second explosion at the adjacent Shoppers Central store.[6] Police Chief Mario Yanga said the bombs were deposited at counters where shoppers leave packages as they enter;[6] the explosions occurred as ceremonies were being held in the city to hand over command of the military's Southern Command from Lt. Gen. Ernesto Carolina to Lt. Gen. Narciso Abaya.[1] [6] Following the blasts, Zamboanga police bomb squads blew up five suspicious packages, however further examination found they contained no explosives.[6]

October 21[edit]

A Philippine Marine guarding the church was killed and 18 others wounded after a bomb, placed in bag left at a candle store, exploded at Fort Pilar,[3] a Catholic shrine in Zamboanga City.[1] [2]


Hours before the October 21 blast, police in Manila captured a man they said was a senior member of the Muslim extremist group, Abu Sayyaf, suspected of staging the earlier blasts. Police arrested five more suspects on the 22nd. On November 15, Abdulmukim Edris, who had a million peso bounty on his head,[2] was arrested in Pasay City after the issuing of 11 warrants of arrest by the regional trial court in Isabela, Basilan for a string of pending criminal cases, including murder and kidnapping for ransom. Edris was tagged as the mastermind in the October 17 bombings.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "5 ZAMBOANGA BOMBING SUSPECTS ARRESTED". newsflash. October 23, 2002. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Abu bomb expert captured". philstar.com. November 15, 2002. Retrieved March 23, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c "Church attacked in Philippines city". BBC News. October 20, 2002. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  4. ^ "Abu Sayyaf kidnappings, bombings and other attacks". GMA News. August 23, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "ABUS, AL-QAEDA TAGGED IN WEDNESDAY NIGHT ZAMBOANGA BOMBING". newsflash. October 4, 2002. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Six killed in Philippines bomb blasts". The Independent. October 17, 2002. Retrieved March 23, 2010.