Police search for 3 persons of interest in Zamboanga mosque blast

Rambo Talabong
The Philippine National Police searches for two possible suspects and one possible witness as it investigates the attack

GRENADE ATTACK. A grenade is thrown inside a Zamboanga City mosque where religious leaders were resting on January 30, 2019. PNP Zamboanga photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) now has 3 persons of interest in mind for the mosque bombing in Zamboanga City, said Zamboanga Peninsula top cop Chief Superintendent Emmanuel Licup on Thursday, January 31.

“[Two] possible suspects. One possible witness,” Licup told Rappler in a text message.

He declined to share more details to prevent compromising their search operations.

So far, the police have collected testimonies from survivors of the grenade attack which killed at least 2 and injured 4 traveling Islamic preachers.

The bombing was carried out past midnight on Wednesday, January 30, with the culprit breaking the windows of the mosque in Barangay Talon-talon before throwing a grenade inside. (READ: Preacher spared from Zamboanga mosque blast recounts ordeal)

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he doubted that the mosque attack was connected to the deadly twin blasts at the Jolo Cathedral which occurred 3 days earlier.

“Even in the past, our churches have been bombed in Davao, Cotabato, or GenSan (General Santos) or whatever. There is no revenge, no mosque has been bombed in retaliation immediately after that. That connection being made that there’s a revenge angle is nothing,” Lorenzana said in a mix of English and Filipino. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.