Suspected suicide bomber attacks Sulu military camp

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – An alleged suicide bomber was killed in an attack on a military camp in Indanan, Sulu, on Sunday, September 8, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The initial investigation shows that at 5:45 pm, the attacker detonated an improvised explosive device at the entrance of the camp of the Philippine Army's 35th Infantry Battalion.

No soldier was hurt.

According to Joint Task Force Sulu spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Monfort, the attacker did not heed the warning of the guard on duty to stop.

"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, then the explosion occurred.)

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."

Monfort said an investigation is still ongoing to determine more details, including the bomber's identity.

Joint Task Force Sulu commander Major General Corleto Vinluan Jr, in a separate statement late Sunday evening, blamed the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) for the bombing.

"It is very ironic that the ASG who is projecting to be a Muslim advocate for change is practicing un-Islamic acts of terror forbidden in the Muslim faith," said Vinluan.

"It is for this reason that I urge the peace-loving Tausugs to remain steadfast against the deceptive propaganda of the ASG.... Let us condemn this un-Islamic and terroristic act and remain firm in our resolve to end these senseless barbaric acts committed by the ASG."

The incident came a day after an explosion in front of a public market in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, on Saturday, September 7 – the same day the Moro Islamic Liberation Front decommissioned thousands of its combatants.

This is not the only recent bombing in Indanan, Sulu. Last June, 8 died while 22 were injured when twin bombings occurred outside the camp of the 1st Brigade Combat Team.

Sobejana urged Sulu residents 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," he said. – Rappler.com