ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 7, 2009) – Two people were killed and at least 17 others were injured after a bomb explosion Tuesday near a Catholic church in Jolo town in the southern Philippine province of Sulu.
Witnesses said another improvised explosive was found outside the Mount Carmel Catholic cathedral and had been disarmed by Filipino and US troops. The US is helping the local military defeat terrorism in Sulu.
"They have recovered another bomb. There were US and Filipino soldiers, they disarmed the bomb," one witness said in cell phone text message sent to the Mindanao Examiner.
The wounded were rushed to hospital. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the blast, but Abu Sayyaf militants with links to the Indonesian terror Jemaah Islamiya are largely blamed by the police for the attack.
The blast, which occurred around 7.45 a.m., damaged several hardware stores, police said.
“We are still investigating the motive of the attack and the type of explosive used in this attack. But there were scattered remains of a motorcycle in the area and bolstering our suspicion that a motorcycle bomb was used in the attack,” Chief Inspector Usman Pingay, the town’s police chief, told the Mindanao Examiner by phone from Jolo.
He said the bomb exploded in front of the Go Teck Leng hardware and the blast killed Vicky Sia, 62, and Hamsirani Hamsi, 60. He said among the wounded were three policemen.
It was the second bomb attack this week outside a Catholic church in the southern Philippines. On Sunday, an improvised bomb exploded outside a church in Cotabato City in Mindanao and killed 5 people and wounded 55 more. The military blamed the attack to Moro rebels and Jemaah Islamiya. (Mindanao Examiner)