Military names Sulu attackers: Suicide bomber's widow, Abu Sayyaf leader's wife

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 26 2020 01:06 PM

The bodies of victims (C) lie on the pavement as police and military personnel cordon off the site where an improvised bomb exploded next to a military vehicle in the town of Jolo on Sulu island on August 24, 2020. - At least 10 people were killed and dozens wounded -- many of them soldiers or police -- in a twin bombing on August 24 on a southern Philippine island that is a stronghold of Islamist militants, officials said. Nickee Butlangan, AFP

MANILA -- The double bombing that killed 14 people in Sulu province this week was the handiwork of the widow of a Filipino suicide bomber and the wife of an Abu Sayyaf leader, a military official said Wednesday. 

Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the 2 suspects were: 

- a certain "Nanah", wife of Abu Talha, a subleader of an Abu Sayyaf unit; and
- an alias "Inda Nay", widow of Norman Lasuca, who set off a bomb strapped to his torso in Indanan town in June 2019, killing 6 people. 

The 2 women were the targets of 4 soldiers before they were killed by policemen in Sulu in June, he told ABS-CBN News. 

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. The Bangsamoro police later said both blasts could have been carried out by suicide bombers. 

Eight members of the security forces and 6 civilians were killed in the apparently coordinated blasts. Among the 75 wounded were 48 civilians, 21 soldiers and 6 police. 

Sobejana said witness testimony and CCTV footage showed the first bomb had been detonated by a suicide attacker.

"It has been validated," Sobejana told reporters.
 
President Rodrigo Duterte will consider the military and national police's recommendation to declare martial law in Sulu, Malacañang said Wednesday. 

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Lieutenant Colonel Ronaldo Mateo said Monday that Abu Sayyaf was "most probably" behind the bombing. 

Sobejana said martial law should be imposed "to bring back normality and for us to really control the movement of people".

Listed by the United States as a terrorist organisation, Abu Sayyaf is a loose network of Islamic militants blamed for the Philippines' worst terror attacks as well as kidnappings of foreign tourists and Christian missionaries.

Monday's explosions happened near a Catholic cathedral in Jolo where two suicide bombers blew themselves up in January 2019 killing 21 people. It was blamed on a group linked to Abu Sayyaf. 

With reports from Zhander Cayabyab, ABS-CBN News; and Agence France-Presse