27 killed in Philippines church explosions

27 killed in Philippines church explosions

Philippine officials say two bombs have exploded outside a Roman Catholic cathedral on a southern island where Muslim militants are active, killing at least eight people.

Witnesses said the first blast inside the Jolo cathedral sent churchgoers, some of them wounded, to stampede out of the main door. One of the bombs detonated inside the church while the other was at the cathedral's parking lot.

Police appear to suspect the bombings are the work of Abu Sayyaf, a homegrown insurgent group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State and has been linked to series of bloody attacks on civilians as well as government troops, according to Reuters.

The island province has been known as a base of operations for the militant Abu Sayyaf Group, which has been listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called the attack a "dastardly act" and said "we will use the full force of the law to bring to justice the perpetrators behind this incident". "The law will give them no mercy", the office of President Rodrigo Duterte said.

Most other Muslim areas approved the plan, aimed at ending almost five decades of a separatist rebellion that has left 150,000 people dead in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

Sulu province - which includes Jolo - voted against the creation of the new region, with its governor filing a petition in the Supreme Court to prevent its formation.


The death toll in the blasts that hit a cathedral in the southern Philippine province of Sulu on Sunday morning has climbed to 20 people, while the number of injured reached 81, local media reported, citing police.

"They are a sub-group of Abu Sayyaf composed of fathers and brothers of Abu Sayyaf members killed by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)".

The approval, which sealed a peace deal with the nation's largest Muslim rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front, raised hopes for peace after decades of fighting killed some 150,000.

Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares, police director in the region that covers Sulu, said in a report that at least 20 people had died, with over 100 wounded, including 14 soldiers and two men from the Coast Guard.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombings.

It was hoped to bring an end to almost five decades of a separatist rebellion that has left 150,000 people dead.

The twin-bomb attack comes days after a predominantly Muslim area in the region voted "yes" in a referendum for greater autonomy.

Related:

Comments

Latest news

Favourites South Korea, Australia bundled out of Asian Cup
South Korea dominated ball possession but lacked precision and efficiency in attack, producing only six goals from 78 attempts. The players didn't have smiles on their faces but appreciated the fans' support. "I feel so sorry that we didn't win it".

Explosions rock China's Changchun city China 25 January 15:09
Nor did they give any clues about the possible suspects or motives behind the incident. Officials had said Friday that the blasts had killed one person and injured another.

Overnight Storm Expected To Bring Several Inches Of Heavy Snow
By the time this system exits we should see storm totals from 7 to 13 inches but it will be hard to measure due to the wind. This line of showers will continue to drop south and east overnight, but cold air will be plunging south at the same time.

Four Germans among victims of mid-air collision in Italian Alps
Investigators are now working to piece together what led to the crash. Heli-skiing first began in Canada in the mid-1960s. The students, a Belgian man, and a Frenchman died.

Online Sports Betting Market Growth
Benefits With the market high, sports betting is an activity that receives a high level of support from online betting companies. More betters are opting to forego the long lines at the cashier's counter and the unavailability of their favorite machines.

Other news