14 killed in Jolo twin bombings in southern Philippines

KONFRONTASI-At least 14 people have been killed and several others wounded after two explosions, including one reportedly carried out by a female suicide bomber, struck the southern Philippine town of Jolo, according to the authorities.

Philippine Red Cross Chief Richard Gordon said the first explosion hit at approximately noon (04:00 GMT) on Monday in the capital of Sulu, one of the country's southernmost provinces.

Gordon, who is also a senator, said a motorcycle loaded with improvised explosive device went off near a military truck. The Red Cross office in Jolo is located near the site of the blast.

According to news reports, as authorities were cordoning off the area, a second explosion was reportedly carried out by a female suicide bomber.

"A female suicide bomber detonated herself as a soldier stopped her from entering the cordoned area," Lieutenant Colonel Ronaldo Mateo, an army spokesman told Manila radio station DZMM.

In total, eight members of the security forces, six civilians and the bomber were killed in the two blasts, while 27 security personnel and 48 civilians were wounded.

Jolo is one of a chain of mainly Muslim islands in the southwest of the majority Roman Catholic country.

The blasts happened not far from the site of a major explosion that killed more than 20 people inside a Catholic church in early 2019, according to state-run PTV channel.

Images posted by PTV on social media on Monday showed debris and bodies lying on a street next to a military vehicle.

Monday's incident was one of at least six suicide bombings in the past three years, a mode of attack previously rare in the Philippines.

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President Michel Aoun tweeted it was "unacceptable" that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was stored unsafely.

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