On the morning of Sunday, January 27, 2019, two kamikaze attacks during Mass in the cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo caused at least 20 deaths and wounded 84 people, and this count is not final.
The Jihadist group Abou Sayyaf claimed responsibility for the attack, that Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, archbishop emeritus of Cotabato and former pastor of Jolo called “a satanic act carried out on a sacred day and in a sacred moment of adoration.”
From Panama, Pope Francis expressed his “most firm reprobation of this episode of violence,” during the Angelus on January 27.
This attack was no coincidence; it came just after the referendum on January 21 that confirmed with an 85% vote the creation of an autonomous Muslim region in the archipelago of Mindanao for 2021.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy is directly targeted, for his plan is to transform the Philippines into a federation of independent regions.
This project, that is an implementation of the agreement signed in 2014 between the government and several separatist Muslim groups, should, according to Rodrigo Duterte, help to contain the increasingly murderous Islamic rebellion; the attack on January 27 will only confuse the issue a little more.