MANILA — Zamboanga region is facing a security threat from the alleged mastermind of a deadly double bombing in neighboring Sulu province and his 2 conspirators, a mayor said Monday.
Abu Sayyaf bomb expert Mundi Sawadjaan, the alleged brains behind the Aug. 24 blasts in the Jolo town plaza, reportedly attempted to escape or has succeeded in leaving Sulu with 2 Indonesians, said Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco, who did not give additional details.
“May banta po dito sa Region 9. Hindi po namin alam exactly kung saan within the region, pero alerted na rin po ang governors natin,” said Climaco, who is chairperson of the Peace and Order Council in Zamboanga region.
(There is a threat here in Region 9. We don’t know where exactly, but our governors have been alerted.)
A military official earlier said Sawadjaan was the brains behind the Jolo blasts that killed at least 15 people and another double bombing at a cathedral in the southern town, where 21 died.
Zamboanga authorities have set up checkpoints and will put up photos of Sawadjaan and his conspirators, Climaco told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
The latest attack in Jolo came about a week after the arrest of Abu Sayyaf leader Abduljihad Susukan, who is accused of kidnapping and beheading several foreigners.
Listed by the United States as a terrorist organization, Abu Sayyaf is a loose network of Islamist militants blamed for the Philippines' worst terror attacks as well as kidnappings of foreign tourists and Christian missionaries.
Suicide attacks were once very rare in the Philippines, but since July 2018 there have been 5, including the latest blasts. — With a report from Agence France-Presse