BREAKING: Twin blasts at Roman Catholic cathedral kills 20 in Philippines

BREAKING: Twin blasts at Roman Catholic cathedral kills 20 in Philippines

Twin bomb blasts at Jolo Roman Catholic cathedral in Mindanao region of southern Philippines killed twenty people, including 5 troops, and wounded 81 others on Sunday.

One blast occurred in or near the cathedral while the second, just minutes apart, outside the compound. The entrance was blown off and the blast was so powerful that it ripped through the main hall toppling other doors too.

Among the injured were 65 civilians, fourteen troops and 2 police. The main road leading to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was sealed off by troops in armored carriers and vehicles transported dead and injured to hospitals.

United States blacklisted Abu Sayyaf militants are active in the Jolo island for their years of kidnappings, beheadings and bombings. In 1997 they had shot dead Catholic bishop Benjamin de Jesus.

Other militant groups like the young jihadis aligned with the ISIS are active too in the region. They have carried out several assaults in past like ransom kidnappings and beheadings.

As per report the Abu Sayyaf are still holding two Malaysians, one Indonesian, a Dutch and a Filipino hostages in jungle bases near Sulu’s Patikul town, which is close to Jolo.

Jolo Island has a population of about 700,000 people and they are mostly poor. Catholic population is limited to just a few thousand and they mostly live in the capital of the island.

Paul Linus