Four potential suicide bombers, who are all Indonesian women are still in Mindanao, the chief of the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command said on Wednesday.
Chino Gaston reported on “25 Oras” that WestMinCom commander Major General Corleto Vinluan, the female bombers were children of the couple responsible for the Jolo Cathedral bombing in early 2019.
The twin bomb attack on a Sunday Mass at Jolo Cathedral on Sulu Island has killed at least 20 people and injured dozens more.
“May apat na Indonesians kasi na nandito pa. ‘Yung anak ng suicide bombers, ‘yung couple na nag-suicide bombing no’ng last year January,” Vinluan said.
He added the four women are with the Abu Sayyaf Group led by Mundi Sawadjaan.
Government forces are also going after the daughter of the Egyptian suicide bomber who attacked Indanan, Sulu in 2019.
“Ito’ yung pamilya na pumunta sa Syria tapos pinauwi sila, ni-repatriate sila, bale sa Indonesia, tapos nag-backdoor ata ng entry nila dito sa Jolo,” Vinluan said.
Dr. Rommel Banlaoi, chair of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence, and Terrorism Research, said the possible suicide bombers were being hunted in Sulu and Southern Mindanao.
“It’s really a cause for alarm kasi the phenomenon of suicide terrorism in the Philippines has become frequent, and it has involved families already,” Banlaoi said.
Suicide bombers in Mindanao
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force Sulu earlier identified the suspects for the twin blasts that killed 15 people in Jolo on Monday.
“In the case of yesterday, we can consider it as conjugal suicide terrorism also because that involved Norman Lasuca and the wife,” Banlaoi said.
One of the bombers, identified as Nanah, is the wife of Norman Lasuca, the Filipino suicide bomber who attacked an army base in Indanan town also in Sulu.
The other female suicide bomber identified as Inda Nhay is believed to be the wife of Abu Talha, an ISIS liaison to the Abu Sayyaf. Military troops killed Talha in encounter in Patikul last year.
According to Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), the suspects behind the Jolo twin blasts were the same persons the Army intelligence officers in Jolo is pursuing before several Jolo cops killed them on June 29.