ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AP) — Police say a bomb has exploded inside a parked bus and killed three people in a southern Philippine city where government troops are battling a holdout group of Muslim rebels holding about 20 hostages.
Police Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca said Friday that the improvised explosive was placed inside a bag and killed the bus conductor and two other employees.
The violence in Zamboanga comes as troops search house-to-house in two neighborhoods to flush out about 30 to 40 Muslim rebels who seized scores of civilians as human shields 12 days ago when government forces repulsed their bid to occupy the port city.
The military operations have rescued more than 170 hostages, and killed and captured about 200 rebels. Thirteen security forces and eight civilians also have died.