The bomber behind the attack at a military detachment in Indanan, Sulu on Sunday was confirmed to be a woman, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Monday.
The woman used a pipe bomb, which she hid under her abaya, according to Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command.
He said the Abu Sayyaf faction led by Hadjan Sawadjaan was behind the suicide bombing attack.
In an interview with reporters, Sobejana said the woman had Caucasian features based on recovered body parts.
Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, agreed with Sobejana, saying the attack was among the diversionary tactics of Sawadjaan’s group.
“Well, first of all, [Sawadjaan’s faction’s involvement] was based on the information we are receiving from our intelligence units, and this was also according to information tipped off by civilians that Sawadjaan has enough reasons for him to conduct such,” Arevalo told reporters in a separate interview.
The bombing took place at 5:48 p.m. at the Philippine Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion detachment in
Barangay Kajatian in Indanan, Sulu.
Only the suicide bomber was killed in the attack.
Sobejana said authorities were tracking down two other suicide bombers.
He explained that three of five suicide bombers monitored by authorities had launched attacks. Norman
Lasuca and his unidentified companion blew themselves up near the 1st Brigade Combat Team’s headquarters also in Indanan in June.
The third suicide bomber was the woman, who is yet to be identified.
Sobejana said the five suicide bombers were “blessed” or were ordered to launch attacks.
“We are exerting our efforts to track them down,” he added. “We are doing everything to contain these kinds of incidents so there will be no further casualties,” he said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) believe that without the imposed martial law, more terror attacks would have occurred in Mindanao.
“Kung wala itong martial law maaaring may posibilidad na mas maraming insidente ng terrorist attack pero dahil sa pinairal na martial law nalimitihan natin ang mga insidenteng ito at ‘yung movement ng terrorists (Without martial law, it is possible that more terrorist attacks will occur. Martial law helped limit these incidents and the movements of the terrorists),” PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac told reporters in a press briefing.
Banac said the crime rate in the region also went down because of the implementation of martial law.
Mindanao was placed under martial law in 2017 following the attack by the Maute Group in Marawi City. It was extended twice by Congress and will last until December 31 this year.
With a reports from DEMPSEY REYES