Gapay: Bombers in Jolo blasts would've been stopped if Army men weren't killed | Inquirer News

Gapay: Bombers in Jolo blasts would’ve been stopped if Army men weren’t killed

/ 03:13 PM September 02, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The two suicide bombers behind the deadly Jolo explosions would have been quelled two months ago if the four army intelligence officers were not gunned down by policemen last June 29, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said.

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“We were so close to neutralizing them. We were about to take them down in a matter of minutes. We were just pinpointing the exact house and the takedown team was already in the vicinity,” Gapay told the Commission on Appointments panel on Wednesday.

“That unfortunate shooting incident happened which disrupted that operation and the two suicide bombers were alarmed and they were able to escape the area. We were so close during that day,” he added.

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On June 29, the four military intelligence officers, who were dispatched to Jolo by the Joint Intelligence Task Group and the Task Force Sulu after technical intelligence detected the possible location of two female suicide bombers, were shot dead near a police station.

READ: Army loses track of 2 Jolo bombers after agents’ slay

Gapay admitted that the military had expected another attack similar to the Jolo Cathedral bombing last year following the escape of the two suicide bombers due to the death of the four intelligence officers.

READ: Islamic State claims Jolo suicide bombings

“It somehow disrupted our operations. That’s why after that incident, with the escape of these two suicide bombers, we expected another incident of terror act that would be executed by the Abu Sayyaf Group,” the AFP chief said.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has already recommended the filing of murder charges against nine police officers for the death of Major Marvin Indammog, Captain Irwin Managuelod, Sergeant Jaime Velasco Jr., and Corporal Abdal Asula.

An NBI investigation showed that the police officers simultaneously attacked the Army men without “the opportunity to defend themselves.”

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The NBI also said that contrary to the claims of the police that one of the victims had a gun, witnesses said that Indammog did not carry a firearm when he alighted from their vehicle.

“Indeed the recent twin bombings were perpetrated by the two female suicide bombers,” Gapay continued.

According to police, 15 people were killed and 75 individuals were injured in the August 24 twin blasts in Jolo, Sulu.

Reports from the military said the first explosion occurred at 11:54 a.m. inside a food shop in Barangay Walled City, where a military truck was parked. After an hour, another explosion occurred at the Goteckleng Building, which is a hundred meters away from the location of the first explosion.

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TAGS: AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, Jolo bombings, Nation, News, suicide bombers, Sulu shooting
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