Authorities find explosive materials in Jolo pier, nearly a month after twin blasts

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2020 08:04 AM

Authorities on Saturday discovered explosive materials in Jolo town, Sulu, the military said nearly a month after twin blasts killed at least 15 people and wounded dozens. AFP Western Mindanao Command/Handout

MANILA - Authorities on Saturday discovered explosive materials in Jolo town, Sulu, the military said nearly a month after twin blasts killed at least 15 people and wounded dozens.

The Philippine Coast Guard found two electric blasting caps, a rifle grenade, a spark plug, and concrete nails after a bomb-sniffing dog sat beside a "suspicious" item abandoned at the Jolo Pier on Saturday evening, the military said in a statement.

The item was placed in between the Harbor Master and the Maritime Police Office, according to authorities.

The explosive ordnance disposal team of Sulu Provincial Police and the Jolo Municipal Police verified that the item contained explosive materials, according to the Armed Forces' Western Mindanao Command.

"This success is a result of the intensified conduct of intelligence operations and the strengthened collaboration with the police and other security agencies, thus preempting the terrorists from executing their terror plan," said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., commander of Wesmincom.

Two explosions rocked the town proper of Jolo last Aug. 24, killing government troops, civilians and the suspected perpetrators, and wounding over 70 others.

Authorities blamed the Abu Sayyaf Group for the incident.

The first blast happened in front of a food shop on Serantes Street, Barangay Walled City in Plaza Rizal, involving a motorcycle parked near a military vehicle.

As authorities cordoned off the area, a second explosion hit minutes later in front of a nearby bank. It was just about 100 meters away from the first blast site, and 10 to 15 meters away from the Jolo Municipal Police Station.

The military named Abu Sayyaf leader Mundi Sawadjaan as the mastermind of the incident, the same person behind the twin blasts in Jolo Cathedral last year that killed more than 20 people.

The ASG is based in the Philippine south and has engaged in bombings as well as kidnappings, including of Western tourists and missionaries, for ransom since the early 1990s. It also has ties to Islamic State militants seeking to set up a caliphate in Southeast Asia.