ZAMBOANGA CITY: Two Marine soldiers guarding a Catholic church were killed and three civilians wounded in a daring broad daylight attack by a lone man, police said on Friday.
Police said the unidentified man managed to sneak on Thursday inside the compound of the Mount Carmel Cathedral Parish in downtown Jolo and grabbed the M16 rifle of the guard and shot him several times.
The man then ran inside the kitchen behind the church and shot dead another soldier before escaping, but two children, aged three and six, and an adult woman were also wounded in the shootings, according to the police.
It was not immediately known how the attacker managed to get inside the compound undetected and then assaulted the soldiers.
Mayor Hussin Amin of Jolo has confirmed the attack and said authorities are searching for the assailant. “We don’t know the motive of the assault, but authorities have launched an investigation into this and are searching for the assailant,” he said.
He said there were reports that the attacker is suffering from a mental illness and that he frequented the church, which had been previously attacked many times by rebels. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the latest attack.