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Grenade explodes at Jolo cathedral


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:06:00 01/11/2010

Filed Under: Security (general), Acts of terror

COTABATO CITY, Philippines ? Unidentified men hurdled a grenade at the compound of the Jolo Cathedral shortly before the start of Sunday morning services, authorities said.

No one was hurt in the 5:40 a.m. blast, according to Fr. Joe Ante. But the explosion shattered some cathedral windows.

Citing a report from the Jolo Police, Senior Supt. Bienvenido Latag, police chief of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said the blast, believed to have been caused by a fragmentation grenade, landed beside the cathedral.

Ante said he was waiting for the 6 a.m. Sunday Mass to start when the blast occurred.

?No perpetrators identified, no arrests, police are still investigating,? Fr. Ante told the Inquirer by phone.

?There were no churchgoers yet, only me and the sacristan (altar boy),? he said.

He said the grenade landed between the tombs of former Jolo Bishop John McSorley and Bishop Benjamin de Jesus.

The tombs are located behind the cathedral altar.

De Jesus was shot dead by gunmen in the 1990s near the Jolo Cathedral while McSorley died of natural causes.

Previous grenade explosions in the area were blamed on the Abu Sayyaf.

Brig. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, head of an antiterrorism task force, said there were no suspects in the latest blast.

In late December, a man suspected of being an Abu Sayyaf member tossed a grenade at the Jolo Cathedral compound leaving a Marine corporal slightly wounded.

In September, two American soldiers who were training local forces against the Abu Sayyaf were killed by a roadside bomb on Jolo island.

Reports from Edwin O. Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao, and AFP


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