Sulu suicide bombing done by Abu Sayyaf: military
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Sunday's suicide bombing in Sulu was perpetrated by the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Hajan Sawadjaan.
"The information that were able to gather from our intelligence units and the information from civilians indicates that it is Sawadjaan who has the biggest reason to do this," said Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, on Monday.
"Given the focused military operations that we are doing now, we see that one of the diversionary tactic that they do is this. While we hunt them down in the jungles, they're are doing this (in the ) countryside. They are doing this in the city so our focus, attention and forces will be divided," he added.
However, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, AFP Western Mindanao Command chief, said the military could not determine the identity of the suicide bomber, but he noted the suspect is foreign looking.
"She is caucasian looking, but the citizen, nationality we do not know yet, but the dismembered parts of the body are already at the SOCO (Scene of the Crime Operatives) for DNA testing," he said.
Sobejana said body parts of the suicide bomber recovered includes her head which was found 30 meters from the blast site.
Arevalo said this incident is the fourth suicide bombing case in the country.
"Yes, it is, it is definitely another act of suicide bombing. We see that that the first that we have recorded happened in Lamitan... and this is the fourth incident," he said.
Sobejana said based on initial investigation the suspect used pipe bomb.
"Yes that's pipe. It's like tube. Its tubular. It's like a dynamite that (is) put around the body," he said.
Sobejana added that before the incident the military received information about a possible plan of the terrorist group to conduct suicide bombing. .
"There is no specific date but we know that there will be five. Two have already exploded, one with Norman Lasuca and the other that we haven't identified," he said.
''There are five who were tasked to explode themselves. So we are monitoring for the three. We closely monitor them and one has exploded yesterday so only two left," he added.
Sobejana said government forces are trying to find the two other suicide bombers but he confirmed they are still within Western Mindanao.
"We are doing our best to locate them and neutralize them before they are able to explode themselves," he said.
"They are still within the area of responsibility of Western Mindanao Command and we don't want to have a spillover, so we are trying to enclose this group," he added.