Soldiers caught in Jolo blast were on resupply run, survivors say
Military personnel are seen at the scene of the explosion in Jolo, Sulu on August 24, 2020
Rep. Jericho Nograles (PBA party-list), release

Soldiers caught in Jolo blast were on resupply run, survivors say

Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - August 25, 2020 - 6:13pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Soldiers were parked and picking up supplies in downtown Jolo when the first bomb exploded on Monday, two of them being treated in Zamboanga City said.

Two of the five injured troopers brought to Camp Navarro General Hospital in the headquarters of the military's Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said they were on a brief stopover in front of the Paradise Food Place along Serantes Street in Barangay Walled City just before noon when the explosion happened.

The injured soldiers, who belong to the 21st Infantry Battalion based, were on their regular resupply mission.

Cpl. Jeric Gil Villaruz said he was in the back of one of two military trucks when the loud explosion rocked the vehicle.

"I was extending my right arm to reach and load the goods when there was a sudden explosion. That is why I was hit on my palm and the upper part of the arm near the armpit," Villaruz said.

Villaruz said that, as soon as the smoke cleared, he saw bodies of his fellow soldiers on the ground. He said he tried to move others to cover.

Cpl. Jesus Genora, on the other hand, said he and other members of his team were standing by the side of the building for security when the attack happened.

Genora was hit by shrapnel on his upper right but managed to run inside the building to seek cover in case of a secondary explosion.

He said he did not notice the person who left the bomb-laden motorcycle used in the first explosion.

Both soldiers said it was their first time to be hit by a bomb attack although they have both been in combat.

The two soldiers that their commanders had told them that there was a threat of a bomb attack and advised them not to stay in place for long.

"We were more than 20 who went downtown. We just don’t go in lesser numbers due to the volume of goods we are purchasing and the security consideration," Villaruz said. 

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