Philippine Cathedral Bombings – Two Blasts, Multiple Victims
Sulu Province – Two blasts at a Philippine cathedral in Jolo on Sunday killed at least 20 and injured 81 others. Sulu Province is part of a predominantly Muslim area, and home to the Islamist terror group Abu Sayyaf.
The Islamic state news media, Amaq, claimed responsibility for the bombings.
The first blast took place during mass at around 8:30 a.m. local time. As police and security forces rushed in to help, the second bomb was detonated in the parking area. Fourteen soldiers and 2 policemen were wounded in the explosion.
PhilStar global reported,
Photos showed debris and bodies lying on a busy street outside the cathedral, which has been hit by bombs in the past. Troops in armored carriers sealed off the main road leading to the church while vehicles transported the dead and wounded to hospital. Some casualties were evacuated by air to a military base here.
Fr. Jefferson Nadua, parish priest of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, described the incident as chaotic.
“Please see to it to bring justice to the victims,” Nadua told Church-run Radio Veritas. “It’s still chaotic here. Pray for us.”
“We pray for safety of those who are wounded. We pray and hope that there are no casualties among our parishioners,” the priest said.
Nadua said the mass was being celebrated at around 8:30 a.m. when the bomb went off inside the church compound.
Security footage reportedly showed the suspects bringing the bombs to the site. Supposedly the suspects are members of Ajang-ajang, a group of sons of killed Abu Sayyaf members.
The bombings came just a few days after the region voted to become an autonomous Muslim area of Mindanao. Sulu province did not approve the ballot initiative, but they will be part of the new area anyway. People hoped that by giving the Muslims a semiautonomous are of their own, the violence would stop. The Philippine cathedral bombing may make a dent in their hopes.
Featured photo provided to press by WESMINCOM Armed Forces of the Philippines.