by Timothy Elphick AN EASTER parade turned to chaos in the Philippines on Sunday. when a bomb thrown at a procession exploded in the crowd, killing as many as nine worshippers and injuring more than 70 more.
A group of children dressed as angels were among those wounded in the blast outside the cathedral of Iligan City in the southern Philippines and were treated in nearby hospitals. Four children died in the explosion.
Police said later that they had detained three people suspected of involvement in the attack, but that their inquiries had so far revealed no motive.
But the city's mayor said that he believed the bomb was connected to a feud which has engulfed rival Moslem and Chrimian clans from the town of
Kaswagan, near lligan City.
The 7,000-strong crowd, which had been watching statues of the resurrected Christ and Our Lady being carried through the town to the cathedral, panicked when the bomb went off, trampling the dead and injured as they ran for cover.
The explosion occurred within hours of Pope John Paul II's traditional Urbi et Orbi Easter address. in which he made a plea for peace throughout the world at a time when conflict was tearing some communities apart.
"May this Easter wish reach those still fighting in certain regions of Africa, in the middle of Europe and in the Caucasus," the Pope said.
He reminded the countries of Europe that civil war was on their doorsteps as the inter-ethnic strife in Yugoslavia erupted once more.
And he warned that the lighting between Armenians and Azeris in the predominantly Christian enclave of Nagorno Karabakh in Moslem Azerbaijan had to be resolved.
Pope John Paul called on all nations to be responsive to Christ's message for the world. "Listen to it you nations of the Americas, attained 500 years ago by the light of the cross...May the risen Christ's proclamation of peace resound in Latin America where the hard-won armistice achieved in El Salvador is offset by the tensions and the unstable situation being experienced by Peru."
At the end of his address front the balcony of St Peter's. the Pope wished the 100,000 people in the piazza and millions of television viewers a happy Easter in a record 56 languages.