Explosions at a police armory in suburban Manila injured at least 107 people, most of them patients at a nearby clinic, and may have been sparked by lightning, officials said Tuesday. Police ruled out sabotage or terrorism.
The explosions late Monday initially raised concerns of foul play in a capital jittery with rumors of coup plots linked to the months long political crisis surrounding President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, accused of rigging last year's presidential election. She denies the allegations.
The blasts at Camp Bagong Diwa obliterated an ammunition bunker, damaged the nearby rehabilitation clinic for drug addicts and a gas station, toppled power poles and left a crater at least four meters (15.5 feet) deep. About 30 parked vehicles were tossed several meters (yards).
The injured included 101 patients at the drug rehabilitation clinic, four elite police officers and two civilians, police chief Supt. Ameto Tolentino said.
Metropolitan Manila police chief Vidal Querol said the explosions shattered windows at his office about 100 meters (yards) away.
He said the explosions could have been triggered by a lightning strike during a thunderstorm late Monday.
Interior Secretary Angelo Reyes sought to reassure the public overnight that the incident was an accident.
"There is nothing to be worried about. It was an accident, that's our initial findings, so we can go back to sleep," he told reporters.
The blasts occurred just hours after Arroyo left for New York to attend U.N. meetings and the military was placed on full alert in the capital, reports the AP.
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