U.S., France slam Basilan car blast as terror act

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Saying it was a terror act, the United States and France on Wednesday, August 1, condemned the car blast that killed at least 10 people in Basilan. 

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of yesterday's bombing in Basilan, and to their families," said US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim in a statement.

"We join the Philippine government in condemning this terrorist act in the strongest terms and remain committed to working with Filipinos to further the causes of peace and prosperity," he added.

The French embassy in the Philippines said, "France strongly condemns the terrorist attack which took place last July 31 in Basilan, and which resulted in the death of at least 10 persons, including several civilians."

"France sends its condolences to the families of the victims and expresses its sympathy to the injured, and stands alongside the local authorities and the Filipino people in the fight against terrorism," the embassy added.

A van explosion in Basilan on Tuesday morning, July 31, killed at least 10 people and wounded 9 others. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Basilan blast appeared to have been a suicide bombing

In a separate statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said two of their health staff visited the Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City on Tuesday to help those wounded in the car blast. 

The ICRC said it is working "to provide materials such as dressing kits, intravenous fluids and infusion, and other medical supplies" as requested by the hospital's commanding officer.

"We are saddened by this incident and condole with the families of those who were killed. Civilians must never be targeted. They are not part of the fighting and are protected under international humanitarian law," said ICRC Zamboanga office head Piotr Dregiel. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.