Death toll now 14; 75 wounded in twin blasts in Jolo
Fourteen dead,75 wounded in twin blasts in Jolo, Sulu
MANILA – At least seven soldiers and one police operative and six civilians died in the twin blasts at midday today at the heart of Jolo, Sulu.
The Philippine Army’s 11th Division spokesman Lt. Col. Ronaldo Mateo said the explosion took place in an area near Paradise Food Plaza along Serrantes St. at about 11:55 A.M.
Six soldiers died and 16 others were wounded and were brought to the nearest medical facility and evacuated to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital by the responding troops.
Four civilians were also killed while nine others were wounded in the incident. While the responding soldiers were in the process of securing the area, a suicide bomber tried to enter the cordoned area and blasted himself near the Development Bank of the Philippines at about 1:00 P.M. which resulted in the death of the soldier and wounded three soldiers and six policemen.
According to AFP Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Air Force Col. Antonio Rafael H. Abundabar, the entire Jolo was placed on lock down to prevent more casualties and preempt other untoward incident.
“Ground troops continue to establish the circumstances and identify the perpetrators behind this inhumane attack,” said Major General Corleto Vinluan, Jr. Western Mindanao Command chief.
He said according to their initial investigation, the first explosion came from a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (IED) where two military vehicles were parked and were partially damaged.
As of 5:29 P.M., the Sulu blasts resulted in 89 casualties with six civilians and seven soldiers dead with 48 civilians, 19 soldiers and nine policemen wounded.
Jolo, Sulu has been considered a hotbed of the Abu Sayyaf Group known for their kidnap-for-ransom activities. There have been instances when they killed their victims for failure to settle ransom demands. The same group has been held responsible for the Jolo Cathedral bombing last January 27,2019 where 20 people died. (Melo M. Acuña)
Army medics and soldiers respond to the Jolo blast at midday today. (PNP photo)