Lorenzana: Suspect in 2nd Jolo church blast ‘may have been a suicide bomber’
MANILA, Philippines — The second explosion in the deadly twin bombing in Jolo last Sunday may be a suicide bomb attack, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday.
More than 20 people were killed and at least 100 others were injured after two bombs exploded inside and outside the Marian Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the restive Sulu province.
The first bomb went off inside the church during Mass, which was later followed by a second blast outside as government troops rushed to respond to the initial incident.
“The second bomb that exploded at the entrance about a minute and a half after may have been a suicide bomber as indicated by the body parts strewn all over including a half face and neck and two feet. The identity of this person is still a mystery and under investigation by the PNP SOCO,” Lorenzana told reporters.
The defense chief’s statements came after President Rodrigo Duterte said that suicide bombers were behind the twin bombings.
The President said the suspected bombers were a couple — a woman who brought the bomb inside the church and a man who was at the entrance where the second explosion happened.
Citing a “hazy recollection” of a survivor, who sat four pews from the explosion, Lorenzana said the first bomb that went off inside the church was left behind by a woman.
Earlier, the military ruled out the possibility of a suicide bombing.
The Abu Sayyaf’s Ajang-Ajang faction was initially the military’s primary suspects for the attack. They even identified the suspects based on the CCTV footage near the cathedral.
But the Islamic State has also owned up to the attack, saying it was two of their suicide bombers who carried it out.
While they did not dismiss the possibility, the military said it could only be part of ISIS propaganda. /kga
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