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Jolo Twin Blasts, 2019 Cathedral Bombing Believed to Have the Same Mastermind

The twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu has killed 15 individuals and injured 55 others.

On Monday, August 24, the town of Jolo, Sulu was rocked by twin explosions at a street at noontime. According to Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao command, the first explosion happened at 11:54am inside Paradise Food Shop in Serrantes street, Barangay Walled City. The blast caused five casualties—all of whom were soldiers who were parked in front of the shop—and 16 injuries.

The second explosion followed an hour after at 12:57pm, this time at the Goteckleng Building, only some meters away from the first explosion site. It was reportedly caused by a female suicide bomber who died at the scene, along with one soldier. Two other soldiers and four policemen were injured in the blast. (Read: 5 Prayers for Safe Travel)

Upon investigation on site, authorities recovered a burnt motorcycle which is believed to be the source of the first explosion. “Right now, all we can say is, [what caused the explosion is] an improvised explosive device,” Vinluan said in an interview. They believe the mastermind behind the twin blasts is Mundi Sawdjaan, who was also the brains behind the previous bombings in Jolo and a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Indanan.

Abu Sayyaf Bomb Expert

(Right) Aftermath of the 2019 bombing inside the Cathedral Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu. (Photo from Baker Atyani Twitter and Albert Alcain / Presidential Photo / Wikipedia)

Mundi Sawadjaan is known as the bomb expert of infamous Islamist separatist group Abu Sayyaf. He is one of the nephews of Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan—the subleader of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and said leader of Islamic State (ISIS) in the Philippines. Mundi’s younger brother, Nanz, was also a bomb expert of ASG, but was killed in a military clash back in 2019.

Ang may pakana lang talaga diyan si Mundi Sawadjaan. Actually siya na rin ‘yung mastermind sa bombing doon sa Cathedral, sa Indanan,” said Maj. Gen. Vinluan when asked about the perpetrator of the bombings. He adds that no other bomber is skilled enough to execute explosions of such scale.

Moreover, Lt. Col. Ronald Mateo, civil military relations officer of the 11th Infantry Division, said that this might be a ‘retaliatory move,’ as their leader Anduljihad Susukan was arrested earlier this month. Authorities are now on high alert following the blasts.

The Abu Sayyaf is also said to be behind the twin attacks in an army camp in Indanan, Sulu, a series of suicide bombings in the same town, and a 2018 explosion at a military checkpoint in Basilan.

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