Abu leader's brother among suspects in Jolo church blast

Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 28 2019 12:37 PM

MANILA - The brother of a slain Abu Sayyaf leader is a suspect in a double bomb attack that killed 20 people and injured some 100 others at a church in Jolo, Sulu, the Philippine National Police said Monday.

Alias Kamah, brother of bandit leader Surakah Ingog, was caught on surveillance camera lurking around Jolo Cathedral with several other suspects shortly before Sunday's twin blasts, said PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.

Kamah is a known bomb maker, he told reporters.

Authorities are looking into whether or not the suspects were suicide bombers, said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

Some 2 kilos of explosive charge was used in the bombs that shattered pews and windows and left bodies strewn at the the church, said Albayalde.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

The military was not discounting this, but earlier said the Abu Sayyaf could be behind the attack.

Albayalde said police would analyze bomb fragments seized from the blast site to help determine the perpetrators. The explosive was likely detonated using a cellphone, he said.

The Jolo bloodshed came a week after a majority of voters approved the creation of the Bangsamoro, a new region giving Muslims in the south more control over their own affairs.

Sulu, which includes the remote island of Jolo, voted against creating the new region, but the province will still be part of the Bangsamoro because voters from current autonomous region voted in favor of it.