Church bombs in Philippines kill at least 17, wound 42

Illustrative Philippine soldiers head to the mountains to secure the release of two Germans who were held for six months by the Abu Sayyaf militant group on the volatile island of Jolo southern Philippines Friday Oct. 17 2014

The Philippine national police chief says two bombs that exploded during a Sunday Mass at a cathedral on southern Jolo Island have killed at least 19 people and wounded almost 50. The fatalities included 20 civilians and seven troops.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the twin blasts at the cathedral, located in the southern island of Jolo. Sunday morning explosions seem to resemble the tactics previously used by the Islamic State-linked militant group to inflict mass casualties.

In a joint statement they said, "We strongly appeal to our security and military forces to flush out the perpetrators of this barbaric crime and bring them to justice".

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As many as 19 people were killed and 48 hurt in two explosions at a Catholic church on Sunday in the southern Philippines' province of Sulu, police and military officials said.

The head of the world's largest body of Muslim-majority countries has strongly condemned the bombing of a Catholic church in the Philippines that killed 20 people and wounded almost a dozen.

She stressed that Vietnam supports the Philippine Government's anti-terrorism efforts and believes that masterminds behind the case will be punished properly.

Meanwhile, the police of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) revises the death toll: the spokesman Gerry Besana declares that five soldiers, a Coast Guard member and 12 civilians were killed in the attack.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law came out of a peace agreement signed between the Duterte government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014 to end almost five decades of a separatist rebellion in Mindanao that has left 150,000 people dead.

The scene inside the cathedral in Jolo after the first bombing.


Supporters of last week's referendum, which will see greater autonomy granted to Muslim-dominated parts of Mindanao, hope it can bring a peaceful resolution to the protracted conflict, which has claimed more than 120,000 lives since the 1970s.

Bomb victims receive treatment in a hospital after two bombs exploded outside a Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo, the capital of Sulu province in southern Philippines where militants are active.

Sawadjaan is based in the jungles of Patikul town, near Jolo, and has been blamed for kidnappings for ransom and beheadings of hostages, including two Canadian men, in recent years.

Initial reports from the Sulu Police District detailed that 19 people were killed and 48 others were wounded.

Meanwhile, the United States of America joins Canada and the European Union in condemning the attack. The militant group is also heavily involved in piracy and kidnapping.

Local, national and global figures have condemned the attack, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a key stakeholder in the peace process.

The province is home to a rival rebel faction that's opposed to the deal.

The Commission on Elections said on Friday that the BOL was "deemed ratified" after getting more than 1.5 million favorable votes.

May all our religions of peace guide us in our quest for a brighter future for the peoples of Mindanao.

ECCP president Nabil Franci said on Tuesday, January 29, that the security situation is a "layer of complexity for investors". Police said they believe the explosives were detonated remotely, but did elaborate.

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