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Five soldiers, a policeman and four civilians were killed and dozens more were injured in the double attack that hit the town of Jolo on Monday. The predominantly Muslim island is the stronghold of the Islamist group Abou Sayyaf.

It is a homemade bomb attached to a motorcycle that exploded in the middle of the day, Monday, August 24, near a supermarket in the town of Jolo aux Philippines. Five soldiers and four civilians were killed, according to General Corleto Vinluan. Sixteen soldiers were also injured as well as about twenty civilians, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Ronaldo Mateo, citing the mayor of the city.

A soldier saw a person park his motorbike near this grocery store “where there were a lot of people”, including members of the army, said Ronaldo Mateo. The device exploded almost immediately.

Then, as the police were evacuating the area, a suicide bomber activated her explosive belt on the same street. The explosion left one dead and six injured, police officers, according to General Vinluan.

A soldier was about to control this woman when she blew herself up, he added.

Duterte condemns “despicable attacks”

The predominantly Muslim-populated island of Jolo is the stronghold of the Islamist group Abou Sayyaf, considered a terrorist organization by Washington and which has split into several factions, some of which have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State organization. This group is “probably responsible for the double attack,” said Lt. Col. Mateo. Abu Sayyaf specializes in villainous kidnappings.

These attacks took place a few weeks after the arrest of one of the leaders of this organization, Abduljihad Susukan, on the island of Mindanao. Security forces had since feared attacks by Abu Sayyaf in retaliation. Abduljihad Susukan is charged with 23 murders, five kidnappings and six attempted murders.

The spokesperson for the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, Harry Roque, condemned “despicable attacks”.

“We call on the residents of Jolo to be vigilant and to warn the security forces if they spot people with suspicious behavior or abandoned objects in their area,” he said.

With AFP

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