Manila, January 27: At least 27 people have been killed and over 70 left injured in a gruesome terror attack reported in southern Philippines on Sunday. The militants, suspected to be affiliated to insurgent group Abu Sayyaf, targeted a cathedral in Jolo islands of Sulu. Twin bombs were planted by the extremists, which led to the casualties of both civilians as well as the security personnel.
The site of attack has been evacuated, said Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde, adding that all the victims have been rushed to the nearest hospital in Zamboanga city. The death toll is feared to rise further as the day proceeds, he added. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Sparks Row With 'Touched Maid' Remark.
The PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), which has been called for a probe into the terror attack, said the militants used a twin bomb blast strategy to maximise the number of casualties. The first explosion, they said, occured at the cathedral's entrance, whereas, the second exploded inside when the security personnel rushed to the spot. Both the bombs were triggered using the improvised explosive device (IED).
The terror strike comes days after the Philippines Election Commission ratified the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which would replace with the Manila-controlled Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the larger Moro-centric Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao -- the creation of which was expected to end the years of hostility between the Moro Muslims of southern Philippines and the Christian-dominated government in Manila.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said the Jolo cathedral bombing was strategically carried out by the terrorists to derail the peace process being intensified by the Moro Muslim representatives and President Rodrigo Duterte.