Bomb Attacks Claim 4 More Lives in Mindanao
Two explosions from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have rocked Sultan Kudarat Province, Mindanao, Philippines recently, claiming 4 lives and injuring 49. Sultan Kuradat is situated in central Mindanao and serves as a hotbed for much of the insurgent activity in the Philippines. Among the casualties were children and teenagers. The first attack was carried out in the middle of a local festival called the Humangaya Festival, a gathering for many of the tribes and groups scattered across the region. The second was carried out only a few days later near a busy area of the same town.
These recent attacks highlight the danger for people in this area and reveals the fear that is a daily reality for people in some regions of Mindanao. The Humangaya Festival should have been an opportunity for diverse groups to unite and celebrate local culture. Instead, it became an opportunity for increased casualties. It is the threat of attacks like these that keep most NGOs out of areas like Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao, but it is this level of danger that makes our work that much more vital.
These attacks also highlight the fear that many of our scholars and leaders face regularly. Most people in this region are quite familiar with violence, having been raised in the midst of tribal, political, or religious conflicts. It is against this backdrop that our leaders are working, confronting systemic violence and trauma with truth and reconciliation. At the center of our strategy are the youth of central Mindanao. Our projects are working on the frontline, pioneering new approaches to build leaders among the youth that can help turn the tide of violence and bring reconciliation among waring groups. Our approach is long term: we focus on providing education for school-age children--an education that not only keeps children out of conflict--but builds them into local leaders that can create a culture of “loving your enemies” in a place permeated with animosity. To learn more about our projects at: http://www.projectak47.com