PNP: 2nd suspect in Sulu camp blasts not son of Moroccan bomber
MANILA, Philippines — The second suspect in the twin blasts at a military camp in Indanan, Sulu is not the son of the Moroccan suicide bomber who attacked a military checkpoint in Lamitan City, Basilan last year, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said Thursday.
Albayalde said a DNA test conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory on the pair of feet recovered at the blast site and believed to be from the second suspect did not match samples from the remains of Abu Kathir al-Maghribi, who detonated an improvised explosive device inside a white van on July 31, 2018.
“Based doon sa laboratory of Crime Lab, nagnegative result n‘yun. ‘Yung allegations na ‘yun, hindi positive yun [Based on laboratory test of the Crime Lab, the result was negative. Those allegations are not true],” he said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.
While this suspicion has already been cleared, Albayalde said authorities still cannot identify the nationality or the name of the second suspect.
He said the situation is different from the case of 23-year-old Norman Lasuca, believed to be the first suicide bomber on the June 28 attack, who was confirmed to be Filipino based on a DNA test with samples of a woman who claimed to be his mother.
Lt. Col. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command, earlier said that the presumption that the second bomber was Moroccan came from visual assessment of ground troops.
He said they also based the presumption on an old video showing two Moroccan boys, then aged nine and 11, were left in the care of Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, a sub leader of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu province.
The boys were believed to be left behind by Abu Kathir al-Maghribi before carrying out the bombing in Lamitan City last year, killing himself and 10 persons.
AFP Chief-of-Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal had also earlier described the second suspect, who wore a black shirt and a bonnet during the attack, as a “short man,” but said ground troops were not sure if he was indeed a young man.
The military earlier reported that the first bomb went off as they were inspecting Lasuca, a suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf, at the gate of the camp of the 1st Brigade Combat Team.
This is when the second bomber then ran inside the camp. Soldiers fired at him, but at the moment his body hit the ground, the IED he was wearing also went off. Authorities said the twin bombings have killed seven persons and injured 22 others. /jpv
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