AFP says IS pronouncement of responsibility for Jolo blasts is mere propaganda

By Francis Wakefield

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Monday said that claims made by the Islamic State (IS) that they had a hand in the twin bombings at the Jolo Cathedral in Brgy. Walled City in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday, is just mere propaganda on their part.

Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo

In a statement, AFP Spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the IS’ claim on the Jolo blasts is still a propaganda as of this time.

"They have been doing false claims in the past. An example is the Resorts World incident," Arevalo said.

The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the twin bombing attacks in Jolo, Sulu that killed at least 20, including five soldiers and injured 97 others.

The US-based SITE Intelligence Group reported that a formal communiqué from IS detailed how the attack was conducted.

According to the communiqué, two suicide bombers with belts rigged with explosives detonated the bombs while within the vicinity of the Cathedral of Our Lady Mt. Carmel.

Meanwhile, a source who requested anonymity, said that in the past the IS has claimed responsibility for previous attacks but its not true at all.

The source said the most likely suspects are the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) with the new local terror group "Ajang-Ajang".

"Not ISIS. They always (make the claim) whenever there are attacks but its not true.," the source said.

"Most likely ASG with the new local terror group called Ajang Ajang. But the members are also from ASG and have strong links with them," the source added.

The source just like the Abu Sayyaf, the Ajang-Ajang are into
kidnappings and other terror activities like bombing, raids/ambush/attacks on government forces, extortion, etc.

"The perpetrators are still being checked/confirmed based on initial data like CCTV footage and post blast investigation but ground intelligence points to Abu Sayyaf/Ajang-Ajang," the source said.