One of the two attackers likely the Indonesian wife of first Filipino suicide bomber, killed in 2019.
Sulu is known as the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Group, an armed group that has allied itself with ISIL
Two female suicide bombers, one of them Indonesian, were behind Monday’s twin attacks in the southern Philippine town of Jolo, the country’s army commander said, as government soldiers in the area were placed on “high alert”.
At least 14 people, including troops and civilians, were killed in the attacks, which also wounded 75 others in the capital of Sulu, one of the country’s southernmost provinces which is known as a stronghold of the armed Abu Sayyaf Group.
Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, commanding general of the Philippine army, told ABS-CBN digital news that one of the attackers was probably the Indonesian wife of the first-ever Filipino suicide bomber, who blew himself up outside a military camp in Indanan town, also in Sulu, in 2019.
Sulu is one of a chain of mainly Muslim islands in the southwest of the majority Roman Catholic country.
Sobejana said investigators had collected the remains of the suspects for forensic tests, to determine who the Indonesian national was, and who carried out which attack.
There have also been reports that one of the attackers was the daughter of the Indonesia couple who was behind the suicide bombing at the Catholic church in Jolo in January 2019 – an incident in which more than 20 people were killed.
Monday’s two incidents, not far from the church, were one of at least six suicide bombings in the past three years, a mode of attack previously rare in the Philippines.
Killing of intelligence officers
Initial reports said a motorcycle packed with improvised explosives was used for the first bombing, but it now appears that a female bomber was also involved.
As authorities cordoned off the site of the first blast, it is thought a second woman blew herself up causing more deaths and damage.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.
Sobejana also said the two female suicide bombers were probably the same suspects who were being tracked by four military intelligence officers. The four officers were killed in a confrontation with Jolo police officers in June.