MANILA — Suicide bombers may have carried out both of the blasts that killed 14 people and injured dozens in Sulu province this week, a police official said Wednesday, contrary to earlier reports.
Authorities initially said a female bomber on Monday blew herself up while authorities cordoned off the town plaza of Jolo after a homemade bomb strapped to a motorcycle exploded.
However, if the bomb had actually been attached to the motorcycle, it should have been blown up to pieces from the blast, said Bangsamoro police chief Brig. Gen. Manuel Abu.
Photos showed the charred motorcycle still standing and in one piece at the blast site.
“Ang tinitingnan pong anggulo ng ating mga investigator, itong 2 pagsabog ay kagagawan ng mga suicide bombers,” Abu told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
(The angle that our investigators are looking at is that the 2 blasts were the handiwork of suicide bombers.)
Police are waiting for DNA test results on the body parts collected from the crime scene to identify suspects, he said.
Military officials earlier said the 2 bombers could have been the Indonesian women that 4 soldiers were tailing in Sulu before they were gunned down by policemen in June.
The police wants to be “sure” before making the same conclusion, said Abu.
“Ang kanilang mga sinasabi ay intelligence-based lang. Ang sa atin ho bilang sa investigation, we want it to be evidence-based kasi we have to file case,” he said.
(What they are saying is intelligence-based only. As to our investigation, we want it to be evidence-based because we have to file cases.)
“Kung mali po ang magiging resulta ng investigation, maniniwala lang tayo sa mga information without matibay na basehan bilang ebidensya, kawawa naman iyong mafa-file-an natin na tao.
(If the result of our investigation is wrong, if we readily believe information without strong evidence, the people we file cases against will suffer.)
The Abu Sayyaf group, whose leader Anduljihad "Idang" Susukan was arrested last week, is the prime suspect in Monday’s twin blasts, authorities earlier said.
President Rodrigo Duterte in June approved a new anti-terrorism law that allows the detention of terror suspects for up to 24 days without charge.
Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque condemned the "dastardly attacks" and issued condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed.
"We call on the residents of Jolo to stay vigilant and report suspicious personalities and unattended items in their areas," Roque said.
The Philippine Coast Guard issued a "red alert" for Sulu and several other areas in the restive south as it assists the military and police in responding to the incident. -- With a report from Agence France-Presse