Manila: A car bomb in the southern Philippines killed one person and wounded seven on Monday in an attack targeting a governor who took office after many of his relatives were slain in the country`s worst political massacre in 2009.
Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu said he was shaken but unhurt in the bombing that struck his convoy on a busy highway in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat Province. He and his followers were heading to a restaurant to celebrate his birthday.
"The blast was so powerful and I saw one of the cars in my convoy going up in flames," Mangudadatu told ABS-CBN television network.
Sultan Kudarat police chief Senior Superintendent Danilo Peralta said it was not immediately clear whether the person killed by the blast was a pedestrian or a member of the convoy. The bomb consisted of a 105 Howitzer round and was remotely detonated in a parked white car, the military said.
Mangudadatu, an ex-town mayor, rose to prominence in November 2009 when 57 people — including his wife, sisters, supporters and several journalists — were gunned down in Maguindanao in a widely condemned massacre that was blamed on his political rivals.
Mangudadatu`s relatives and supporters were attacked while they were travelling to register his candidacy for governor, a position he later won by a landslide. A powerful family patriarch and former governor, Andal Ampatuan Senior, and a number of his sons are among the 196 people accused in the massacre.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for Monday`s attack.
Sultan Kudarat and nearby Maguindanao, about 950 kilometres (590 miles) southeast of Manila, are in a violent region that teems with Muslim guerrillas and warlord clans with private armies.