On 24 August 2020, at around 11:53AM a bombing incident occurred near Paradise Food Plaza, Barangay Walled City, Jolo, Sulu, subsequently a second explosion occurred at around 01:30PM near Lengs Snack House, Arola Street, also in Jolo, Sulu. killing at least 16 people and wounding more than 20.

Military officials said two bombs went off within an hour of each other in Jolo, Sulu province, on Monday. They suspect the bombings were carried out by militant Islamists linked to the Abu Sayyaf group.

Abu Sayyaf is one of the smallest and most violent jihadist groups in the southern Philippines, known for its kidnap-for-ransom activity and its brutality, including beheadings.

Listed by the US as a terrorist organisation, the group has pledged allegiance to so-called Islamic State, and has carried out kidnappings of both foreigners and Filipinos.

Monday’s bombings come after the arrest earlier this month of an Abu Sayyaf leader on the southern island of Mindanao. Security forces had been on alert for possible reprisal attacks.

Lt-Gen Corleto Vinluan said an improvised explosive device attached to a motorcycle went off near a military truck outside a supermarket.

Burned motorcycle is pictured in the aftermath of an explosion in Jolo Island, Sulu province, Philippines
image captionMilitary officials say an explosive device was attached to a motorcycle

As police and soldiers descended on the scene, a second blast erupted on the same street at short time later.

“A female suicide bomber detonated herself as a soldier stopped her from entering the cordoned area,” Lt-Col Ronaldo Mateo, an army spokesman, told local media.

Eight members of the security forces and six civilians were killed, while 27 security personnel and 48 civilians were wounded in the explosions, reports say. The bomber also died.

Filipino soldiers are pictured on the site of an explosion in Jolo Island, Sulu province, Philippines
image captionIslamic militants linked to the Abu Sayyaf group are believed to be behind the bombings

The mayor of Jolo locked down the town after the blasts and the Philippine Coast Guard issued a “red alert” for Sulu and several other areas nearby.

The blasts happened not far from the site of a suicide bomb attack that killed more than 20 people at a Catholic cathedral in January 2019. Authorities blamed a group linked to Abu Sayyaf.

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