PNP: Central Mindanao terror groups may be behind Davao blast

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 06 2016 03:38 PM | Updated as of Sep 06 2016 06:09 PM

ZAMBOANGA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking at terror "groups in Central Mindanao" as the possible culprits behind the Davao night market blast that killed at least 14 people and injured dozens.

PNP chief Ronald Dela Rosa said the bomb signature on the improvised explosive device (IED) used in the explosion last September 2 was similar to the IEDs used by terrorist groups behind other bombing incidents in Davao, including the Sasa Wharf bombing in 2003, and the Ecoland bombing in 2005.

"Explosives made in Central Mindanao area have a different (distinct) signature. They make use of mortar rounds as IEDs,"Dela Rosa said in a press conference.

READ: Davao blast: IED fragments recovered from victims' bodies

But Dela Rosa refused to tag a particular group or person as he considers it "unsafe to identify suspects as breakaway groups continue to expand."

"Before the peace talks, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were our usual suspects, but now, we are looking into some breakaway groups," Dela Rosa said.

READ: 'Persons of interest' tagged in Davao blast

The PNP chief admitted that most of the bombers in Mindanao were trained by Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and that there may have been "a transfer of technology through these trainings."

It could be recalled that 44 cops from elite group Special Action Force (SAF) were killed while pursuing Marwan, who was killed in 2015. 

But Dela Rosa said the "transfer of technology" among bombers should not be a cause for alarm.

"We are not concerned about the training, we are concerned about the motive," Dela Rosa said.