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Philippines vows to "kill" attackers after deadly church bombing raids



President Rodrigo Duterte visited the southern Philippines, where two bomb attacks on a Roman Catholic cathedral killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 100 people.

Duterte met in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount with leading defense, military and police officer Carmel in Jolo, Sulu province, before proceeding to a mass rally for the victims of the bombing, such as photos of a former president's executive demonstrate.

Prior to Duterte's visit on Monday, Oscar Albayalde, the country's police chief revealed that the brother of a killed Abu Sayyaf leader is suspected of attacking Jolo, an island in Sulu Province in the troubled south.

He identified the person under his pseudonym Kamah, the brother of Abu Sayyaf leader Surakah Ingog. The suspect, who the police claim to be a well-known bomb maker, was arrested shortly before the attack on surveillance cameras near the church.

Kamah is still at large, the police chief added, adding about 4 kg of explosives in the bombing.

The attack occurred six days after a referendum on the expanded Autonomy The predominantly Muslim region made an overwhelming "yes" vote in the hope that the plan would bring development, jobs and peace to a region plagued by poverty and instability.

The first explosion broke out inside the cathedral, followed by a second explosion outside the facility, which exploded as security forces raced onto the stage, officials said.

The original bomb scattered the wooden benches in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and blasted window panes, witnesses said. The second hurled human remains and debris over a town square in front of the church.

The police said the bombing killed 15 civilians and five soldiers and revised an earlier death of 27. More than 110 were injured.

"The enemies of the state have bravely challenged the government's ability to safeguard the security of the citizens of this region," said Salvador Panelo, Duterte's spokesman.

"The armed forces of the Philippines will face the challenge and destroy these godless criminals."

INSIDE STORY: Can there be peace in the southern Philippines? (24:35)

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS) took responsibility for the attack on its Amaq website.

Police investigate the allegation, but suspect that this was the work of Abu Sayyaf Domestic armed group that has committed to the ISI and has carried out bombings, kidnappings and beheadings in Mindanao's devastated southern region of Mindanao.

"They want to show violence and sow chaos," Albayalde told radio DZMM, suggesting Abu Sayyaf was the prime suspect.

In a statement, the Philippine Army said the explosions were likely caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Photos on social media showed rubble and corpses lying on the busy street outside the cathedral has been hit by bombs in the past.

Troops in armored cars locked off the main road that led to the church, while vehicles carried the dead and took them to the hospital, wounded.

Some casualties were evacuated by air to the nearby Zamboanga ci

"I have instructed our troops to raise their alert levels, to secure all places of worship and public places at once, and to take proactive security measures to hostile ones Plans to prevent, "said Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana in a statement. [19659004] Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, expressed "the most decided reproach against this violent episode."

Yousef Al-Othaimeen, head of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, the world's largest Muslim group of states, also condemned the attack and expressed "deep indignation" over the bombing raids.

"Prayers disturbed by explosions"

Bishop Angelito Rendon Lampon served as a priest in the cathedral for nearly two decades, until he arrived in Cotabato, another city in Mindanao, last week. He said many of his former parishioners were shaken by the attack.

"I know many victims because I worked there for 21 years, praying for the victims and their families," Lampon told Al Jazeera.

"We condemn this attack, and those responsible do not even respect the sanctity of the place," he said, adding that the priest who officiated at the time of the bombing, Father Ricky Bacolcol, "was still under Shock and could not talk about what happened. "

Jolo has long been troubled by the presence of Abu Sayyaf, blacklisted by the Philippines and a terrorist organization on the United States

The first bomb went into or near the cathedral from Jolo, followed by a second off-field explosion when government forces responded to the attack. [Philippine army/AFP]

The attack followed Friday's announcement that the region was predominantly Muslim. Most Roman Catholic Philippines had confirmed the creation of an autonomous Bangsamoro area with 85 percent of voters.

It is expected that the Bangsamoro, ie the Moro Nation, will replace the existing ARMM, which has critical function, as merely nominal and could not end the violent conflict that has occurred in the last five decades or so Has claimed 120,000 deaths.

Although Sulu, including Jolo, was one of the few areas that rejected autonomy, this will be the case. If it is fully established in 2022, it will still be part of the new entity.

Rebels and the government in Manila hope that a new, peaceful Bangsamoro will finally attract the necessary investment to pull the region out of brutal poverty It is a hotspot of violence. 19459013

Muslim rebels have long struggled for the independence or autonomy of Mindanao, which they regard as their ancestral homeland when Arab traders arrived there in the 13th century.

With additional coverage by Ted Regencia


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