Government forces discovered Saturday new explosive materials in the same barangay where the twin blasts occurred in Jolo occurred last month.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines – Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said Sunday the Philippine Coast Guard found a set of abandoned explosives, consisting of two electric blasting caps, a rifle grenade, a spark plug, and some concrete nails in Barangay Walled City. The location was between Harbor Master and the Maritime Police Office.
During an area paneling at Jolo pier at 6:02 pm on Saturday, a bomb-sniffing dog sat beside the explosive materials, prompting the authorities to inspect the site.
The WestMinCom added troops of the 35th Infantry Battalion immediately cordoned the area. At the same time, the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team of Sulu Provincial Police Office and Jolo Municipal Police Station went to the site to confirm the explosives.
“I commend our troops and our partners for this accomplishment. You saved the lives of the innocent people and foiled this terroristic activity of our heartless enemies,” said Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, JTF Sulu Commander.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., WestMinCom Commander, said the government forces intensified their intelligence operation and strengthened their coordination with the police and other security agencies to prevent a possible terror attack Jolo, Sulu.
New explosives found in Jolo blast site
Barangay Walled City was the same village where the twin blasts occurred on August 24, leaving 15 people dead and 78 wounded.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Kris Conrad Gutierrez, the spokesperson of the special investigation earlier, said criminal charges were filed against at least 20 people who were allegedly involved in the Jolo bombing.
“We filed cases [before] the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor last September 4. We filed 15 cases sa first blast and then 14 cases sa second blast. Unfortunately, we cannot divulge the names of the suspects because of the ongoing follow-up operations against them,” Gutierrez said.
Though he did not name the suspects, the official said most of the suspects were members of the Abu Sayyaf Group, while authorities are still checking the affiliations of the others.
“Definitely, some of them are ASG members pero tinitingnan pa rin po natin ‘yung affiliation ng ibang personalities,” Gutierrez said.