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Number of wounded in Jolo blasts now 78 —military

The number of individuals injured in the twin bomb attacks that rocked Jolo, Sulu on Monday has increased to 78, the Joint Task Force Sulu said on Tuesday.

According to JTF Sulu, the wounded persons include 24 government troops, 48 civilians, and six police officers.

The death toll remains at 15 — including seven soldiers, six civilians, one policeman, and the female suicide bomber who caused the second explosion in Barangay Walled City at 1 p.m.

The first explosion transpired at 11:55 a.m. in front of Paradise grocery store when an improvised explosive device, placed on a parked motorcycle, exploded.

The military said security forces were conducting security patrols in the area when the explosions happened.

Due to the incident, the town of Jolo was placed under lockdown to prevent further atrocities by lawless elements. Government troops in the area are on high alert following the attack.

The spokesman of the 11th Infantry Division has claimed that the incident was perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf Group. Lieutenant Colonel Rolando Mateo said authorities are checking if it was a form of retaliatory attack on the arrest of leader Anduljihad "Idang" Susukan.

In a separate interview on Unang Balita, Mateo said authorities are checking if other terror groups were involved in the incident. 

"We are yet to establish that assumption," Mateo said. 

He said the Abu Sayyaf Group has not claimed responsibility yet on the deadly explosions. 

Mateo also reiterated that the blasts were linked to the two suicide bombers who were being tracked by the four soldiers slain in a shooting incident last June 29. 

"Yes, 'yan 'yung pangyayari last month na mayroong sinusundan 'yung intelligence operatives natin at sa kasamaang palad nagkaroon nga ng ganoong incident. After that tuloy-tuloy 'yung pag-monitor natin ng bomber dito sa Jolo," Mateo said.   

Western Mindanao Command chief Major General Corleto Vinluan has said Mundi Sawadjaan, who is related to the Abu Sayyaf Group, was behind the explosion. 

He also bared that aside from the two suicide bombers, the killed troops were also tracking Sawadjaan. 

Malacañang has condemned the deadly explosions as it urged the public to remain vigilant. KBK/KG, GMA News