Muslim-majority areas of southern Philippines won the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, giving their Islamic population much control over the local governments. Jolo, the capital of Sulu province, voted against the law. Today, terrorists rocked the city with two terrorist attacks on a Catholic church.
At least 21 are dead and 71 have been injured as two bombs went off in the area of Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The first blast cleared the building, filled for Sunday service. The second blast happened in the parking lot as national police arrived. It is unknown whether the timing of the second attack was coordinated to happen at this time, but indicators point to this as an intentional strategy.
Roads leading to the church have been sealed by a strong military presence that has swarmed on the area.
“I have directed our troops to heighten their alert level, secure all places of worships and public places at once, and initiate pro-active security measures to thwart hostile plans,” said the defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana.
Abu Sayyaf Militants are are being sought for the terrorist attack, though they have not publicly claimed the blasts at this time. Law enforcement isn’t waiting for a public proclamation as “the primary suspect is still ASG”, said Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, chief of the Western Mindanao Command.
This is clearly a message being sent to the only province that rejected giving Islamic militant full control over the region. At least one pro-Islamic conspiracy theorist in the area is claiming this is a red flag attack, but the style in which the terrorist attack was carried out seems to point towards the militants.
This response to a failed political solution should concern anyone with a growing radicalized population. When they get their way politically, they accept it. When they don’t get their way politically, they turn back to terrorism.