Three dead, several wounded as explosion rocks Catholic mass

This handout photo released by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Information Office (PIO) Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCON) taken on January 27, 2019, shows debris inside a Catholic Church where two bombs exploded in Jolo, Sulu province on the southern island of Mindanao. - At least 17 people were killed as two bombs hit a church on a southern Philippine island that is a stronghold of Islamist militants, the military said, just days after a regional vote for a new Muslim autonomous region. The first blast occurred inside the Catholic church on war-torn Jolo on Sunday morning as mass was being celebrated, and was followed by a second explosion in the parking lot as troops responded, regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Gerry Besana told AFP.  (Photo by HANDOUT / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO - ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Three people have been killed and nine wounded in an explosion at a Catholic Mass in the Philippines.

According to the BBC, the incident occurred in a gymnasium at the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi on Sunday morning.

In 2017, the city was the scene of a five-month battle between government forces and militants with links to the Islamic State.

The university said it was “deeply saddened and appalled” by the “senseless and horrific” violence.

“Violence has no place in a civilized society, and it is particularly abhorrent in an institution of higher learning like MSU,” it said.

“We stand in solidarity with our Christian community and all those affected by this tragedy.”

The university added that additional security staff had been deployed on its campus and that all academic activities would be suspended until further notice.