Death toll in Sulu twin bombings in southern Philippines reaches 8

MANILA (Xinhua) – The death toll in Friday’s twin blasts inside a military camp in Sulu province in southern Philippines has reached eight, a military official said yesterday.

Spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command Major Arvin Encinas told local radio that among the eight killed, three were soldiers, three were civilians, and two were the bombers. Another twelve were injured in the blasts.

The Islamic State (IS) has assumed the responsibility of the attack but the claim cannot be verified and investigation is still underway.

Encinas said the first bomber attempted to detonate the explosives taped on his body near the gate, killing the three soldiers manning the gate. Another bomber attempted to slip into the gate and blew himself up, injuring 12 other soldiers.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala blamed the attack on Abu Sayyaf gunmen who are notorious for carrying out kidnappings-for-ransom, bombings, ambushes of security personnel in Mindanao in southern Philippines.

  “This attack is meant to disrupt the intensified security operations tempo following a series of recent operational gains in the area,” Zagala said, “We vow to respond with formidable resolve.”

The Abu Sayyaf Group, estimated to have 400 members, operates in the waters off the west coast of Mindanao island in southern Philippines, mainly in the provinces of the Sulu Archipelago.