PNP rules out suicide bombers in MSU-Marawi blast
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is ruling out the possibility that suicide bombers were behind the blast that killed four people and injured 50 people at the Mindanao State University (MSU) gym in Marawi City on Sunday morning.
“Wala pong indication na meron ganun. Kausap ko yung provincial director, ongoing yung Mass nung mangyari ito; yung apat na biktima are all Christians. Wala pong indicators na may suicide bombing na involved sa insidente,” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said in a media briefing on Monday.
(There is no indication that it was done by suicide bombers. I talked to the provincial director of Lanao del Sur, and he said a Mass was ongoing when this happened, and all killed victims were Christians. There are no indicators that a suicide bombing was involved in this incident.)
She likewise revealed that the identity of the “persons of interest” points to the possibility that attackers might be members of a group linked to previous bus bombings within the region.
“Lahat ng information na ibinigay at natatanggap natin ay kino-consider natin ‘yan, at we are in close coordination with our AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] counterparts and doon sa possible involvement ng foreign terrorist,” Fajardo said.
(We are gathering all the information and considering all the possibilities that foreign terrorists might be involved. We are investigating all of that with the help of our AFP counterparts.)
In reaction to the Islamic State militants’ statement claiming responsibility for the deadly blast, Fajardo said the PNP would rely on the evidence it had so far gathered.
“Anyone can claim na sila and (that they are) responsible for this incident. But we will base our investigation on the evidence, and hindi sa sabi sabi lang (not just on rumors),” she said.
Earlier, the PNP said it had put its police regional offices in Mindanao on red alert status and placed the National Capital Region under heightened alert status as a precautionary measure.
Also on Monday, the Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the bomb attack, as reported by Reuters. It likewise revealed that the group members allegedly had detonated the explosive.