Suspected suicide bomber killed in attack in Sulu

  • A woman suspected of being a suicide bomber was killed when she attacked a Philippine Army checkpoint in Indanan, Sulu
  • No soldier was killed or hurt in the attack
  • The woman has not been identified

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – A woman suspected of being a suicide bomber was killed in an explosion near a checkpoint of the Philippine Army in Indanan, Sulu, on Sunday, Sept. 8, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). 

Maj. Arvin Encinas, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) reported members of the Army’s 25th Infantry Battalion were manning a checkpoint at around 5:45 when a woman approached them.  No soldier was hurt during the attack. 

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AFP/Ted Aljibe/CNA

“Sinigawan niya, ‘Huwag ka pumasok, huwag kang pumasok,’ and then…wala pa ring nangyayari ay nag-take cover na siya…. Lahat nag-occupy na ng fighting position, then sumabog na lang bigla,” Monfort said.

(He shouted at her, “Don’t enter, don’t enter,” and then nothing happened so he took cover. All of the soldiers went into fighting position, and then the explosion occurred.)

If confirmed, the incident would be the fourth suicide bombing in Southern Philippines in 14 months, exacerbating the fears about the depth of Islamic State’s influence in the mainly Muslim region. 

Authorities have yet to identify the woman. 

In a statement, AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana said the bomber was “in abaya attire, a woman, and foreign-looking with long hair based on the recovered mutilated head,” but noted that the “recovered dismembered hand is similar to that of a man.”

The incident comes on the heels of another explosion, this time in front of a public market in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, on Saturday, Sept. 7. 

The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the Sultan Kudarat attack. However, military investigators sought to downplay the militant group’s involvement. They suspect the attack was perpetrated by an “ISIS-inspired” group engaged in extortion. 

Sobejana urged locals in Sulu to remain vigilant and to report suspicious personalities and items to authorities.

“We assure the public that the WestMinCom forces shall sustain our security and peace efforts to prevent hostile acts that may disrupt the peace and development in the Bangsamoro Region,” Sobejana continued.

Sources: ABS CBN, Rappler, Channel News Asia

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