ANKARA, Turkey / JAKARTA, Indonesia

At least 12 people were reported dead and dozens injured in twin blasts that rocked southern Philippines Monday, local media reported.

Two explosions hit Jolo in Sulu province of autonomous Bangsamoro region in southern Philippines early this morning, Philippines military officials said. The slain people included six soldiers. More than 40 people, including civilians, were injured.

According to GMA News Online, the Philippines army Lt. Col. Ronald Mateo confirmed the deaths, adding that nearly 18 soldiers and 22 civilians were injured.

The Philippines police spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the first blast occurred around mid-day in the vicinity of Paradise Food located at Barangay Walled in Jolo. The second blast took place around one hour later.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, though the country’s security agencies pointed fingers at the Abu Sayyaf, a militant group that has allegedly pledged allegiance to Daesh/ISIS and has been carrying out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines since 1991.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Bangsamoro autonomous government condemned the bombings.

“The BARMM [Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] leadership condemns these bombings in strongest terms. We also share the grief of those who have lost relatives in the incident,” said Naguib Sinarimbo, a spokesman for the regional government.

Sinarimbo also said the region’s Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim has directed the regional police to identify the culprits for prosecution.

He added the regional government is ready to help the victims of the bombings.

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