The aftermath of the bombing Saturday, December 25, 2010 of a Catholic church in the largely Muslim province of Sulu in the restive southern Philippine region. (Mindanao Examiner Photo - Nickee Butlangan)
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 25, 2010) – At least 6 people were wounded in a bomb attack on a Catholic church in the largely Muslim province of Sulu on Christmas Day, Philippine military officials said.
Officials said an improvised explosive was planted at the church roof inside a police base in the capital town of Jolo. “The explosion occurred at around 7:15 in the morning while the mass was going on. Six people were slightly wounded in the explosion,” said Army Lieutenant Randolph Cabangbang, a regional military spokesman, adding among those wounded was a priest.
The blasts damage the ceiling of the church, he said.
The motive of the bombing is unknown and no group or individual claimed responsibility for the latest attack. Security officials would not say whether the militant group Abu Sayyaf was behind the bombing, but rebels had been blamed for many similar attacks in Jolo which in the past targeted the Catholic Cathedral in the town.
It was not immediately known how the bomber was able to scale the roof of the church and plant the explosive undetected by the police, but the building is surrounded by civilian houses in the village of Asturias. It was the second time in recent years that a bomb exploded inside the police base.
The mayor of Jolo, Hussin Amin, chairman of the local crisis management committee, could not be reached for comment, but Cabangbang said security had been tightened in the town.
The bombing came just a week after a US court sentenced an Abu Sayyaf co-founder Madhatta Haipe to 23 years in prison for his role in the kidnappings of 16 tourists, four them Americans, in the southern Philippines in 1995.
Haipe, who escaped military operations in the Philippines, was arrested in Malaysia in 2006 and later extradited in the United States where he pleaded guilty in July. (Mindanao Examiner)