ZAMBOANGA CITY — The death toll in the twin explosions that ripped through a church in Jolo, Sulu has risen to 17, which included five soldiers, while 57 others were reported wounded, police said Sunday.
Senior Supt. Pablo Labra II, Sulu police director, said two improvised explosive devices exploded one after the other at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Barangay Walled City, Jolo.
Labra said the first IED exploded around 8:15 a.m. Sunday inside the church and the second, a minute later outside the cathedral.
Labra said the five slain soldiers belonged to the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion and were detailed to secure the church, while the other 12 fatalities were churchgoers.
Of the 57 wounded, he said 14 are soldiers of the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion, one member of the Philippine Coast Guard, and the 42 others are churchgoers.
Based on investigation, he said a woman was seen to have entered the church and pretended to be a devotee prior to the twin explosions.
He said investigation is still ongoing in a bid to unmask the identities of the people behind the twin bombings.
Meanwhile, former Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan has condemned the incident, which he called a “barbaric act”.
“We condemn the barbaric act of certain individuals or group in the cathedral bombing this morning against the worshippers as they try to sow terror and we should never give in,” Tan said.
Ely Dumaboc / PNA – northboundasia.com