MANILA - Philippine authorities are searching for more suspects involved in Monday's twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu that left scores of security forces and civilians killed and wounded, the deadliest attack in the country this year.
Speaking to ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, Joint Task Force Sulu commander Brig. Gen. William Gonzales said Wednesday they were pursuing other members of the terror group Abu Sayyaf Group believed to had carried out the bombings.
"All efforts are focus on finding and perhaps neutralizing this Abu Sayyaf group, particularly itong gumawa ng pambobomba, to once and for all put them to justice," he said.
The double bombing, which occurred outside a supermarket at a town plaza in Jolo, killed 15 people, including 8 soldiers, Gonzales said.
Of the 75 people wounded, 14 of them are in critical condition, he added.
The military official also bared that the female bombers identified as Inda Nay and Nanah are both Filipinas.
Nanah is the wife of the first Filipino suicide bomber Norman Lasuca, while Inda Nay is the wife of Abu Talha, the subleader of an Abu Sayyaf unit.
"Itong mga suspect sa twin bombing, they are the same people na mino-monitor since June to July pa," Gonzales said.
Shortly after the blasts, the military and police have intensified security measures in the southern Philippine island in a bid to reopen the city.
"After ng bombing 2 days ago, tuloy-tuloy yung ginagawang security measures dito sa city of Jolo. Jolo is still on lockdown. Hopefully today or perhaps early tomorrow ay matapos ang investigation. Tomorrow, ma-clear ang area at mabuksan ulit ang Jolo," Gonzales said.
"As far as 'yung situation, 'yung mga tao, except siyempre 'yng sa Jolo, back to normal ang kabuhayan," he added when asked about the current situation in the area.
Malacañang earlier said President Rodrigo Duterte was mulling to place Sulu under martial rule to address terrorism in the province.
“The recommendations have been made, and he listens to those on the ground,” Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque told CNN Philippines.
“Although the recommendation has been made, the President has to be very careful that it will pass the scrutiny of both the legislative and judicial branches of government,” he added.