Southern Philippines bomb toll climbs to eight

Emergency teams attend the scene following a powerful car bomb explosion in the southern Philippine city of Cotabato on 5 August 2013 Mindanao has experienced two deadly bombings in 10 days

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The death toll from a bomb attached to a vehicle in the southern Philippines has risen to eight, police say.

The blast in a busy street in Cotabato city, Mindanao island, injured more than 30 people as debris went flying and nearby buildings caught fire.

Police are investigating whether Monday's blast was aimed at a local official whose car was passing.

Mindanao has been affected by long-standing conflicts between government forces and Islamic rebels.

City police chief Rolen Balquin said that four people died at the scene and another four in local hospitals overnight, AFP news agency reported.

Police were investigating whether city administrator Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, whose car was passing when the bomb detonated, was the target of the attack, he added.

Ms Sayadi, who is also the sister of Mayor Japal Guiani, "had been receiving threats for the past few days", he said.

While Ms Sayadi was not seriously hurt, at least one of her bodyguards died in the blast.

Herminio Coloma, a spokesman for Philippine President Benigno Aquino's administration, said: "We condemn the use of violence to kill and maim our countrymen who are peacefully going about their daily lives."

"We'll hold accountable these criminals who terrorise our society."

The blast was the second deadly attack in Mindanao in 10 days. An explosion on 26 July killed eight people.

Cotabato, which is home to both Muslim and Christian communities, has previously been hit by attacks blamed on Islamist militants and organised criminals.

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