ZAMBOANGA CITY–Nine people, including four soldiers, were killed in two successive bomb explosions in downtown Jolo, the capital of Sulu, where troops are continuously pursuing the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits.
Military and police reports said all the deaths were related to the first explosion, which occurred in front of an eatery around 11:53 a.m. Monday in Serrantes Street, Barangay Walled City, Jolo, Sulu.
Police investigation showed that the explosion occurred moments later when an unidentified person parked a bomb-laden motorcycle beside an M35 truck of the Army’s 11th Infantry Division.
The explosion site is the usual place where the troops park their vehicle whenever they go on marketing duties.
“Immediately after the (first) incident, elements of Jolo MPS (Municipal Police Station) responded to the scene purposely to cordon the area and to evacuate casualties of the said explosion,” the local police said in a report.
The second explosion occurred around 1:06 p.m. just 100 meters away from the site of the first explosion.
Sonny Abing, Sulu provincial information officer, said those hit in the second bomb explosion were the responding soldiers and policemen.
Abing cannot immediately say how many victims were injured in the second explosion.
Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Western Mindanao Command chief, said the blasts wounded 17 individuals but did not say how many are soldiers and policemen.
Vinluan said they have no details yet about civilian injuries or casualty.
In a statement following the blasts, the Joint Task Force Sulu assured the public that “we will continue to sustain the security efforts for peace and stability in the province”.
“Together with the PNP (Philippine National Police) and Local Government Units, we will look for the perpetrators of the bombing incident and put them into justice,” the task force said. (PNA)