Jolo church bombing similar to Lamitan bombing — Albayalde
MANILA, Philippines — Authorities are looking at similarities between the recent bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo, Sulu, and the bombing in Lamitan, Basilan last July 2018, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Tuesday.
“Parang similar dun sa may Lamitan noon, remember itong Lamitan bombing noon,” Albayalde said in a radio interview with DZMM.
Albayalde did not give additional details. He also did not immediately confirm if a suicide bomber was behind the bombing of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral as almost all casualties have already been identified.
“Sa ngayon hindi natin ma-confirm ‘yan dahil unang-una, na-identify naman ‘yong mga casualties. Although meron pa pong mangilan-ngilan, dalawa na lang yata ‘yong hindi na-identify na katawan ng casualties dahil nagkapira-piraso ‘yong iba,” Albayalde said.
“Kaya kung ma-identify po ng mga kanilang relatives then malabo pong may suicide bomber d’yan,” he added.
On July 31, 2018, a van which was flagged down at a checkpoint in Lamitan exploded, killing 10 persons including five members of auxiliary forces, three women, a child, a soldier, and the van driver.
It was speculated as the first suicide bombing incident in Basilan and in country as well.
Albayalde also echoed previous reports that a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group’s Ajang-Ajang faction was spotted near the blast site, after reviewing closed circuit television (CCTV) footages taken in the area.
He said the group is a sympathizer of the terrorist Islamic State (ISIS).
“Ito pong grupo na ‘to, they pledged allegiance to ISIS, na gusto nilang magkaroon ng recognition from ISIS,” he said.
Last Sunday’s bombing of Jolo’s Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral left 21 dead and at least 98 injured.
Pope Francis also strongly condemned the bombing in a Sunday blessing delivered from Panama. /muf
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