Jolo blast victim dies in Zambo hospital

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ZAMBOANGA CITY — The death toll  in the January 27 twin blasts that hit a church in Jolo, Sulu has reached 22 and the wounded at 101, a military official said Friday.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said Thelma Villanueva, 68, died while undergoing medical treatment on Thursday.

Besana said Villanueva, one of the blast victims admitted at the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC), died after her life support was removed with the family’s consent.

He said Villanueva’s remains will be brought to her hometown in Basilan province.

According to Besana, the 22 casualties consisted of six soldiers, a coast guard and 15 civilians. Of the 101 wounded, 14 are soldiers, two are Coast Guard personnel, and 85 are civilians.

Westmincom data showed that 32 of the 101 wounded were admitted to five hospitals in this city — ZCMC, 17; Zamboanga Doctors’ Hospital, two; West Metro Medical Center, five; Ciudad Medical de Zamboanga, four; and Camp Navarro General Hospital, four.

Earlier, Dr. Afdal Kunting, ZCMC information officer, said most of the victims admitted at the ZCMC sustained injuries from glass shards.

The twin bomb blasts from two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) occurred while the Mass was ongoing at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Barangay Walled City, Jolo, Sulu on January 27.

The first IED exploded at about 8:15 a.m. inside the church while the second went off a few seconds later at the parking area of the cathedral’s compound.

Earlier PNA articles this week already placed the Jolo, Sulu church bomb blast casualties at 22, largely based on police reports. The cause of the discrepancy from police and military sources is still being verified as of this posting. -PNA

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