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1月30日のまにら新聞から

Lorenzana admits possible security lapses led to Jolo bombing

[ 487 words|2019.1.30|英字 (English) ]

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admits possible lapses in the security of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo where at 20 persons were killed in last Sunday’s explosion.

Lorenzana said even before the explosion the church was guarded by soldiers as the military received reports about the Abu Sayyaf's plan to bomb Catholic churches.

“There were reports that Catholic churches in Jolo, Basilan and Zambo(anga) would be bombed as early as August 2018 with Jolo as most probable. Since then, the Jolo Cathedral was guarded by soldiers 24 hours a day.

“We will never know how the bombers got in or near the church as the soldiers guarding the main door all died. Other soldiers who were getting in to rescue the victims of the first explosion inside the church were also hit by the second bomb,” he said.

Lorenzana admits possible lapses despite security measures.

“While we were briefed that all people going inside were searched, it is possible that there may be lapses in the procedure,” Lorenzana said.

Col. Noel Detoyato, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief, said the military will try to determine these lapses to improve security.

“The mere fact that a bomb exploded inside the church means there were lapses. As to how it actually happened, we will never know as the soldier on duty also died,” he said.

“Meanwhile we will reconstruct the events leading to the blast through interviews and data gathering so that we can effect changes in the existing security protocols,” he added.

Detoyato said based on initial investigation the incident was not made by suicide bombers like the claim of the international terrorist group (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS).

“Yesterday, in the course of the investigation, two among the wounded victims in the hospital said they saw a woman who left a bag on the fifth pew of the church coming from back. Then after leaving the bag a few seconds after, the explosion occurred so that is the method of deployment so it’s not suicide bombing,” he said.

“It was remotely detonated so that would dispel the reports of suicide bombing,” he added.

Detoyato said government forces do not know if the second bomb was left in the area, but he confirmed that the two bombs have the same composition.

“It’s the same, same signature, ammonium nitrate which is locally available. All components locally available and the locals can make that,” he said.

Detoyato added that based on the CCTV footage and investigation, there were about four to six suspects.

Col. Gerry Besana, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said authorities identified one of the suspects on the CCTV footage.

"Accordingly, the suspect was identified as alias Kamah, a known bombmaker and brother of the slain Abu-Sayyaf sub-leader Surakah Ingog, he said.

Detoyato said the suspects belong to the “Ajang Ajang” group which has links with ASG. Robina Asido/DMS