Jolo bombers possibly now in Central Mindanao, police say

Queenie Casimiro, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2020 04:26 PM

MANILA — The local police of Zamboanga City said Monday it received information that terrorists responsible for the twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu are now in Central Mindanao.

According to Police Col. John Guyguyon, officer-in-charge of the Zamboanga City Police Office, 2 foreign bombers and an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-commander tagged in the Jolo blasts are now in an unspecified location in the said region. 

Guyguyon identified Mundi Sawadjaan as the ASG sub commander, while the two foreign bombers are Andi Baso and wife Reski Fantasya, who are allegedly from Indonesia.

Authorities in Zamboanga City have intensified checkpoints as well as patrols on land and at sea to prevent the possible entry of terrorists, including those who are expected to flee the island of Sulu, Guyguyon said.

K9 units have been deployed to vital installations and other areas where people usually converge, he added. 

Security has also been tightened in churches and at the Fort Pilar Shrine beginning Sunday, while mobile checkpoints were established in several roads. 

Government earlier announced a P3-million bounty for the arrest of Baso and Sawadjaan.

Guyguyon says with the photos of the suspects now out in public, they appeal to residents to immediately inform authorities should the suspects be monitored in their communities.

Authorities initially said a suspected bomber blew herself up while authorities cordoned off the town plaza of Jolo after a homemade bomb strapped to a motorcycle exploded last Aug. 24. The Bangsamoro police later said both blasts could have been carried out by suicide bombers.

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