MILF condemns twin bombings in Jolo

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2019 09:41 PM | Updated as of Jan 28 2019 11:55 AM

MANILA - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said Sunday it would support efforts to run after the perpetrators of the deadly explosions in Jolo town in Sulu.

In a statement published on its website, Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the MILF peace panel, condemned what it called a "senseless violence" that resulted to the death of at least 20 people.

"This criminal act has no place in our civilized society especially that we are about to reap the fruits of our struggle with the ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law," he said.

Iqbal was referring to the January 21 plebiscite when majority of the people in Muslim Mindanao voted in favor of the law that will create a new Bangsamoro region with greater autonomy.

Aside from the 20 people who died, around 80 more people were injured because of the twin blasts that occurred inside a Catholic Church in the southern Philippine town.

"The MILF is ready to support efforts in the apprehension of the perpetrators of the senseless violence that occurred in a place of worship while people were attending the morning mass," said Iqbal.

For his part, MILF chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim said the group is also investigating the bombing incident. He doubts it is connected with the January 21 plebiscite.

"We are still investigating kung ano ito but definitely walang kwan ito, I think it's more... not connected with the plebiscite, kasi wala nang plebisito, natapos na ang plebisito," he said.

The military said the Abu Sayyaf's "Ajang-Ajang" group were behind the explosions, based on CCTV footage they have recovered from the blast site.

Sulu is a known bastion of the Abu Sayyaf, an Al-Qaeda linked group that has been responsible with the kidnappings and bombing incidents in the troubled south.

The province was the only one in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to vote against the Bangsamoro Organic Law in the recent plebiscite.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law will implement a peace deal between the government and the MILF, the country's largest Moro rebel group.

Mindanao is currently under martial law, which was first declared by President Rodrigo Duterte in May 2017 when Islamic State-linked militants took siege of Marawi City.

-- with a report from Aria Cecilia Butardo