Twin explosions rock Jolo

Roel Pareño - Philstar.com
Twin explosions rock Jolo
This August 24, 2020 shows the aftermath of the twin explosions that killed at least nine people, including four Army troopers, and injured 18 others in Jolo, Sulu.
(Photos courtesy of the 11th Division and Joint Task Force Sulu) | via Roel Pareño

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Updated 3:28 p.m.) — Two separate explosion rocked the downtown area of Jolo, Sulu on Monday and left nine people, including five soldiers, dead and 18 others injured, according to authorities.

Police and military authorities said 20 civilians were also injured in the powerful initial blast that authorities believe to be the handiwork of the Abu Sayyaf group.

Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police, said that the first explosion occurred at the vicinity of Paradise Food located at Barangay Walled, Jolo, Sulu, at the opposite road at around 11:53 a.m. and later again at 1 p.m. respectively on Monday.

The Jolo Municipal Police Station has deployed its personnel to evacuate the casualties and ensure the safety of other residents for other possible devices. 

Speaking in an interview with DZBB Super Radyo, Banac also said that the police still did not have a definite number as to the casualties caused by the explosions. 

"As of now, number of victims were still unidentified while investigations are underway to possibly identify the suspect/s behind this incident," he said.

Westmincom: At least four soldiers dead

Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, confirmed four soldiers died on the spot from the first explosion while 18 others were injured.

He said they have no immediate account on the number of civilian casualties at the moment.

But Lt. Col. Ronaldo Mateo, 11th Infantry Division spokesperson, reported that at least 20 civilians were reported injured in the blast. Sulu Police Province Office (SPPO), meanwhile, initially reported five civilians dead and an undetermined number of others injured during the first explosion.

Unidentified rider left rigged motorcycle

Initial police investigation disclosed that an unidentified rider left the motorcycle rigged with an IED near the military truck parked in front of the restaurant. The explosion happened moments later.

Sonny Abbing, provincial public information officer of Sulu, said Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan Sr. was meeting with Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, the new Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS) and 11th Infantry Division chief, when the first explosion occurred. The meeting was cut short as Gonzales had to respond to the incident.

“I was at the blast site when the second explosion occurred. I saw victims falling on the ground, most of them were responding police and military personnel,” Abbing said.

Vinluan confirmed the second explosion that occurred across a gas station on the same street of the first blast.

Abu Sayyaf suspected in blasts

The military and police have yet to determine the perpetrators of the attack but earlier reports indicated the Abu Sayyaf group had threatened to conduct a suicide bombing attack in metro Jolo.

The military disclosed that prior to the explosion Mundi Sawadjaan, who was the subject of the tracking operation of the 4 army troopers who were killed by police person in Jolo last July 29, had planned to conduct the bombing attack.

The military further disclosed that based on the intelligence reports Mundi allegedly perpetrated the attack citing that the motorcycle was used in the bombing. — with reports from Philstar.com/Franco Luna

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 5, 2020 - 1:38pm

The August 24, 2020 bombings in Jolo, Sulu left 14 people dead and 75 people injured. Authorities said two suicide bombers — widows of Abu Sayyaf terrorists — detonated the bombs, which exploded around an hour apart.

November 5, 2020 - 1:38pm

The military has awarded medals and assistance to five soldiers who survived and recovered from critical injuries in the twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu in August.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), says Cpl. Jeric Gil Villaruz, Privates First Class Jayson Paguirigan, Vincent Malupa, and Dave Egipto, and Private Baser Katipon were conferred the Wounded Personnel Medal (WPM) for the wounds sustained during the bombing incident perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf Group on August 24, 2020 in the downtown of Jolo.

The five soldiers were among the more than 70 soldiers, police and civilians injured in the carnage staged by two female Indonesian suicide bombers which also killed 15 others.

“They are among those who incurred major injuries and were treated in private hospitals here in the city. We are happy that they are now in better condition,” Vinluan said during the simple ceremony. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

September 4, 2020 - 6:23pm

Philippine Army Chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana says he respects the decision of the Duterte government on his recommendation for Sulu.

“But I’m not insisting on the martial law declaration over Sulu. I always respect the wisdom of our president and other national leaders as well as the general sentiment of the public,” Sobejana tells The STAR. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

August 31, 2020 - 3:01pm

Provincial officials honored one of the soldiers killed in last week’s bombings in Jolo, Sulu with a visit to his wake in M'lang town in North Cotabato on Sunday.

Relatives of PFC James Soriaga Apolinario, one of the Army servicemen killed in explosions that rocked Jolo on August 24, told reporters they were elated with the visit of Gov. Nancy Catamco to personally condole with the Apolinario family.

Apolinario, who belonged to the 21st Infantry Battalion, was born and raised in Barangay Magallion in M'lang.

Catamco was accompanied to the ancestral home of the Apolinarios in Barangay Magallion by Brig. Gen. Roberto Capulong of the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade, North Cotabato Rep. Jose Tejada and M'lang Mayor Russel Abonado. — The STAR/John Unson

August 30, 2020 - 4:26pm

President Rodrigo Duterte says he will visit Jolo, Sulu from Davao City, adding he plans to go to the blast site to mark the deaths of security personnel.

"Mabigyan ko lang yung mga sandalo natin, mga sundalo ko, mga pulis ko ng importansya sa kanilang kamatayan," he says.

He adds: "I’ll go there to fulfill the duty of a commander in chief." — from a report by The STAR/Alexis Romero


August 26, 2020 - 12:08pm

The Commission on Human Rights condemns the "cruel and inhuman" bombings in Jolo, which comes at a time when the Philippines observes the International Humanitarian Law Month.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia says the commission calls out the perpetrators of the attack for their "blatant disregard for protection granted to civilians."

"We call on the government to investigate this incident and make perpetrators accountable for this crime in line with government’s obligation to uphold and protect human rights of all," De Guia says in a statement.

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