15 hurt in mosque attack

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JOLO, Sulu: Fifteen people including 10 police officers and a 7-year-old child were wounded in an attack on a mosque at a police camp in Jolo, Sulu, officials said on Saturday.

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Successive blasts targeted the mosque inside Camp Kasim early evening Friday —an initial grenade attack followed by a bomb explosion less than 10 minutes later that was intended to target police who rushed to the scene, local authorities said.

“It seems the (first) explosion was set up to draw responders as the target,” the provincial police chief Senior Supt. Abraham Orbita told reporters.

Police and military authorities have not released any report about the daring attack.

ABS-CBN television identified the wounded policemen as: Senior Insp. Jeremy Dogao, Senior Police Officers 1 Johnny Wahi, Benhar Ladjamalik; and Police Officers 1 Arkis Duran, Tantung Muksan, Emmanuel Abin, Hinaro Accad, Elorde Alem, Al-Aziz Sakilan and Mark Tulavan.

The civilians who were also injured were identified as Sildaya Imbay, 38; Alrasheed Imbay, 11; Arsheeda Imbay, 7; Faujiya Mudah, 12; and Yvonne Aya-Ay, 22.

Rosalyn Aya-ay, a shopkeeper and a policeman’s wife, said she found her husband sprawled on the ground after the first explosion and took him to the camp hospital though he was not seriously injured.

“When I returned I found my two daughters wounded by the second blast. I was scared and I had a hard time finding an ambulance to carry them,” she told AFP.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred inside the sprawling provincial police headquarters in the provincial capital of Jolo.

It was the second bomb attack on Camp Kasim since 2010, when a Christmas Day blast wounded six people worshipping at a Catholic church in another section of the facility.

Jolo is a known stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, a small group of a few hundred Islamic militants founded in the 1990s with seed money from Al-Qaeda.

Police investigators combed through the scene of the blast Saturday, which was about 10 meters (33 feet) from a guarded entry gate, but would not say how the attackers had smuggled the explosives into the camp, an AFP photographer on the scene said.

The families of policemen assigned to the camp also live inside the facility.

Al Jacinto and AFP

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