Human Rights WatchLives Destroyed: Attacks on Civilians in the Southern Philippines
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Cover: Clarita Gragasin, 61, traveled to the Koronadal market on May 10, 2003, to shop for some food. She was sitting in a rickshaw tricycle, preparing to return home, when a bomb detonated about five meters from her. Shrapnel from the bomb hit her face, abdomen, arms, and legs, killing her instantly. Clarita left behind three daughters: Zenaida, Maribeth, and Narissa.  2006 John Sifton/Human Rights Watch
Clarita Gragasin, 61, traveled to the Koronadal market on May 10, 2003. She was sitting in a rickshaw tricycle when a bomb detonated about five meters from her. Shrapnel from the bomb killed her instantly. 2006 John Sifton/Human Rights Watch

 

Since January 2000, radical armed Islamist groups in the Philippines have carried out over 40 major bombings against civilians and civilian property, mostly in the south of the country. Attacks on Mindanao, Basilan, Jolo, and other southern islands have killed nearly 400 civilians and injured well over a thousand more. Bombs have been set off in urban centers, markets and stores, airports, on ferry boats and wharfs, and on rural roads and highways. They have killed Philippine civilians indiscriminately-Christians and Muslims, men and women, parents and children-and left behind orphans, widows, and widowers. Hundreds of other victims have suffered severe wounds, burns, and lost limbs.

In all, bombings and other attacks against civilians in the Philippines have caused over 1,700 casualties in the last seven years, more than the number of people killed and injured in bombing attacks during the same period in neighboring Indonesia (including the 2002 Bali bombings), and considerably more than the number of those killed and injured in bombings in Morocco, Spain, Turkey, or Britain.