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Confusion surrounds explosion that killed four in Abu Sayyaf stronghold

Most accounts suggest the explosion was caused by a grenade, but the possibility of it being an improvised explosive device has not been ruled out

Confusion surrounds the cause of an explosion in Sulu that left four dead — including a child — and injured 18.

Local military chiefs are pointing the finger at the Abu Sayyaf terror group, while other reports suggest it was a grenade thrown by a fleeing thief or a revenge attack for the shooting of a child.

Colonel Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said a man was being held on suspicion of planting an improvised explosive device in Busbos, near the island’s capital Jolo, at 7pm.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Col Sobejana said Abu Sayyaf, which has a strong presence on the island, is nonetheless still the number one suspect.

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However, other accounts say that a grenade was thrown into a bakery in a revenge attack after a child was killed in a shooting incident on Friday. A police source has said that the attacker was a relative of the child.

Meanwhile, Dr Raden Ikbala, who is treating the injured victims at the Integrated Provincial Hospital in Jolo, said the four fatalities were villagers who responded to a call for help and pursued a thief who was armed with a grenade.

According to Dr Ikbala, some of the wounded said the thief, realising he was trapped, lobbed the grenade at his pursuers.

Investigations are continuing.