Twin blasts rock Sulu town plaza; at least 15 killed, 75 wounded

Philippines: 14 dead, scores wounded in twin bombing at Jolo (update) | The  Star
At least seven soldiers, a policeman, and six civilians were killed, while 75 were injured as twin explosions ripped through the town plaza of Jolo in the southern province of Sulu on Monday noon, authorities said.

The military said a suspected female suicide bomber also died during the second blast.


The first blast happened in front of a food shop on Serantes Street, Barangay Walled City in Plaza Rizal, said Lt. Col. Ronaldo Mateo of the military's 11th Infantry Division.

A parked motorcycle exploded near the M35 vehicle of the 21st Infantry Battalion, resulting in "numerous casualties," the Jolo Police said in its official report.

"Initially, it's an IED (improvised explosive device) planted in a motorbike," said Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., chief of the military's Western Mindanao Command.

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As authorities cordoned off the area, a second explosion hit minutes later in front of a bank, said Mateo.

This was just about 100 meters away from the first blast, said Vinluan, and 10 to 15 meters away from the Jolo Municipal Police station, said ABS-CBN reporter Nickee Butlangan.

"Nasa kabilang kalye itong pangalawang pagsabog. Malakas," said Butlangan, who was reporting from the scene.

Authorities said the wounded include 21 soldiers, six policemen, and 48 civilians.

Vinluan said the suspected female suicide bomber who died in the second explosion had an IED with her.

In a separate interview on TeleRadyo, Mateo said the suspected female suicide bomber, whose nationality is yet to be ascertained, attempted to enter the cordoned area, but was intercepted by a soldier.

"Mayroon na lang biglang lumapit na babae na papasok sana doon sa cordoned area. Pero, na-preempt ito ng isa sa mga sundalo natin. And mabuti na lang at hindi nakapasok 'yung suicide bomber na 'yun," Mateo said.

(A woman suddenly arrived and tried to enter the cordoned area, but she was preempted by a soldier. We're lucky the suicide bomber was not able to enter the area.)

But the bomber immediately triggered the bomb.

"Nung na-preempt nung sundalo, tinrigger kaagad nung suicide bomber 'yung bomb. So, nagkaroon ng minimum casualty lang dito sa second bombing, dahil na-preempt ng security forces natin," Mateo said.

(When she was preempted by the soldier, she immediately triggered the bomb. So, there was minimum casualty in the second explosion because our security forces were able to preempt her.)

Aside from the suspected suicide bomber, the soldier that intercepted her also died from the blast.

Mateo said the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is "most probably" responsible for the explosions, as there are no other active terror groups in the province.


The military is in pursuit of alleged perpetrator and Abu Sayyaf leader Mundi Sawadjaan, who was behind the twin blasts that rocked Jolo Cathedral last year killing more than 20 people, Vinluan disclosed.


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