ISIS claimed responsibility over Sulu blasts ? SITE
The Islamic State or ISIS on Saturday claimed responsibility over the alleged twin suicide bombing incidents in Sulu which resulted to eight people dead, according to SITE Intelligence Group.
In a series of tweets, Rita Katz, Director of SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based nongovernment organization, which monitors terrorist movements, said the ISIS group claimed responsibility for the blasts, marking its 17th attack in the country for 2019.
“ISIS follows claim with photo report of both bombers. Important to note, the group continues to exaggerate casualty counts, claiming 100 killed and wounded - far higher than the initial tally by officials,” said Katz.
“Likely to rise, but not to levels claimed by ISIS,” she added.
Katz said the last alleged attack of the terrorist group in the country was last January when the twin blasts inside and outside a Catholic church in Jolo occurred, leaving 23 people dead and around 100 others wounded.
She added that the attacks came days after IS fighters from the provinces in East Asia, West Africa and Sinai, Egypt renewed their pledges to their leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
After the ISIS claimed responsibility, Director Arsenio R. Andolong, Defense spokesperson, urged the public to reject foreign extremist ideologies.
“The DND (Department of National Defense) calls for continued vigilance in light of the recent bombings in Sulu which led to the very unfortunate loss of lives, both civilian and military,” said Andolong in a statement.
“We extend our sympathies to the victims of this heinous act, and vow to hunt down those who are responsible,” he added.
The DND said the attack once again brings to the fore the importance of working together to prevent and counter violent extremism in the communities.
“As a nation, we must be adamant in our rejection of foreign extremist ideologies which aim to invalidate our gains towards achieving just and lasting peace in the country, particularly in Mindanao,” said Andolong.
Meanwhile, Police Regional Office- Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Regional Director, Police Brigadier General Marni Marco Jr. said the police and military have been working hand-in-hand in preserving peace and order in the area of Sulu and its neighboring island provinces.
“Our organizations deeply understand one another when it comes to the sacrifices delivered by our men in these parts of Mindanao just to secure the safety of the public,” said Marco.
“Without any reservations the Police Regional Office of ARMM strongly condemns the recent armed encounter that killed and injured our friendly forces in the 1st Brigade Combat Team, Philippine Army,” he added.
The Regional Director said BARMM has been on heightened alert status and they have strengthened their intelligence monitoring and prompt exchange of information of any plan atrocities of the local terrorist groups as well as to initiate pro-active security measures to thwart and preempt the hostile plans of terrorist groups against the government security forces and the civilian populace.
He said they implemented target hardening measures through enhanced security preparations and active involvement of all stakeholders as well as conducting of strict inspection at police checkpoints and chokepoints, among others to preempt the conduct of similar atrocities in the area.
Authorities assured the public that government forces on the ground are conducting a deeper investigation on the incident and will not stop until the perpetrators are caught or eradicated. Ella Dionisio/DMS