Death toll in Philippines’ Jolo twin blasts climbs to 22

MANILA (Xinhua) – The death toll in last Sunday’s twin blasts that hit a cathedral on Jolo Island in the southern Philippine province of Sulu has climbed to 22, the military said on Friday.

Colonel Gerry Besana, the spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command, said that as of 1.30pm local time, the military had tallied 22 deaths including six soldiers, a Coast Guard personnel and 15 civilians.

A female blast victim died on Thursday at a hospital in Zamboanga City where she was confined, Besana said.

Besana said 101 have also been injured, including 14 soldiers, two Coast Guard personnel and 85 civilians.

Investigations are underway to hunt the bombers. Authorities blamed the deadly blasts on Ajang-Ajang militants who are allegedly sons of Abu Sayyaf members who were killed in military and police operations.

No arrests have so far been made after the terror attack.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said a suicide bomber launched the attack.

But military and police authorities said nothing is conclusive yet.

“We have no conclusive findings that it was a case of suicide bombing,” said Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, a spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), adding that investigations are still on-going.