A suspected suicide bomber dressed in traditional Muslim woman’s attire was killed in an explosive blast in an attack on a military detachment in the southern Philippines, the sole victim of the latest deadly bombing on the island of Jolo this year, authorities said on Sunday evening.
The bombing is the second to occur in the volatile southern Philippines in as many days, after an explosion injured eight people on Saturday at a market in Sultan Kudarat province, officials said. Jolo, which is part of an island chain in Sulu province, has now seen at least 34 people die in terrorist strikes in 2019.
Sunday’s attack by the “foreign-looking” suspect took place shortly before sunset at Baranguay Kajatan in Indanan, a municipality in Jolo, the military said, adding it had “foiled” the attack through “austere security measures and sustained community cooperation.” “
“According to the guard on duty, an unknown terrorist in black abaya dress, appearing pregnant and suspicious, approached the front door of the KM3 detachment of the 35th Infantry Battalion of said barangay, âsaid Colonel Gerald Monfort, spokesperson for Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS ) and the 11th Army Division.
The explosion in the town of Indanan occurred just meters from the site where two suicide bombers blew themselves up in an attack that killed six other people outside a military camp in late June.
The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack and a double suicide bombing that left 23 people dead in a church in Jolo in January. Authorities accused an Indonesian couple of carrying out the attack on the church.
No one else was reported injured in Sunday’s attack, in which the explosion tore the suspect’s body apart, Monfort said.
The guard at a checkpoint immediately took a defensive position and alerted the other troops to take combat positions, Monfort said.
“The guard on duty warned the suspect not to go through the checkpoint after noticing unusual behavior by the person in the black abaya,” he said. “However, the unidentified terrorist suddenly blew herself up.”
The troops later recovered a manual igniter believed to belong to the alleged bomber.
The suicide bomber was “an alien-looking woman with long hair,” a statement from the Philippine Army Command West Mindanao (WestMinCom) said, noting that authorities found the suspect’s mutilated head at the scene. .
“However, the dismembered hand recovered is similar to that of a man,” WestMinCom said.
Major General Corleto Vinluan Jr, the JTFS commander, praised the troops for avoiding casualties among soldiers and civilians.
âThe suicide bombing could have caused huge losses if it had not been properly dealt with by our soldier. Therefore, I congratulate them on such a heroic achievement, âVinluan said.
In Saturday’s attack in Sultan Kudarat province, CCTV footage obtained by police showed a man disguised as a woman leaving a bag with the bomb next to motorcycles parked outside a bakery, authorities said.
The bomb exploded outside the bakery hours before a thousand guerrillas from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) surrendered their guns and were demobilized in an official ceremony in neighboring Maguindanao province.
The event, attended by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and other officials, was part of a peace deal reached between the MILF and Manila in 2014.
Filipino military officials said the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway MILF faction that opposed the peace deal and was now aligned with ISIS, likely led the market attack on Saturday.
Islamic State claimed on Sunday that it was behind the attack on Sultan Kudarat, Reuters news agency reported, citing a statement released by the extremist group.