Military knows Sulu suicide bomb attack coming — AFP spox

Published September 9, 2019, 11:54 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion (35IB) is well aware that a suicide bombing is coming into its way prior to the attack at their detachment in Indanan, Sulu on Sunday, a ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) disclosed on Monday.

Philippine Armed Forces Spokesperson Brig.Gen. Edgard Arevalo (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez / MANILA BULLETIN)
Philippine Armed Forces Spokesperson Brig.Gen. Edgard Arevalo
(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez / MANILA BULLETIN)

Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, said the military on the ground has received reports from locals that the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is targeting them for a suicide bomb attack.

“Mayroon na silang nakuhang impormasyon buhat sa mga (They already obtained information from) civilians na magkakaroon ng ganitong klaseng pag-atake (that an attack like that is going to happen) and that added to their vigilance and preparedness,” Arevalo said.

Arevalo said that a female suicide bomber tried to enter the detachment of the 35IB at Barangay Kajatian but she was not able to do so. She then decided to detonate the explosives attached to her body.

The Sulu-based ASG under the command of Hajan Sawadjaan is being eyed as the mastermind behind the suicide bombing because of the information obtained by the military’s intelligence units, he added.

Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the AFP-Western Mindanao, said it was the same group where Norman Lasuca, the first known Filipino suicide bomber, belongs to.

Lasuca and a still unidentified cohort were the suspects behind the suicide bombing at the camp of the Army’s first brigade combat team (1BCT) in Indanan, Sulu on June 28, 2019.

The latest attack, Arevalo explained, could be a diversionary tactic to divide the attention of the military in the on-going pursuit operations against the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

“Alam niya (Sawadjaan) na very focused ang operations against Abu Sayyaf Group doon sa kanyang lugar that’s why he had to resort to other means to make his presence felt,” Arevalo stated.

“Si Hajan Sawadjaan ang may pinakamalaking dahilan upang gawin ito,” he added.