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Abu Sayyaf claim on Davao blast cannot be confirmed yet, authorities say

A Special Investigation Task Group was formed to probe on the deadly blast which took 14 lives and injured 67 others at the Roxas night market in Davao City. Facebook/City Government of Davao

MANILA, Philippines - While there are reports circulating that the Abu Sayyaf could be behind the explosion at the Roxas night market on Friday midnight, authorities said that the army and police are yet to confirm it.

"Ongoing pa ang post blast operation. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) helps the police to determine what type of bomb was used," said Major Ezra Balagtey, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

"The culprits of these kinds of attacks are determined after a series of intelligence operations," he added.

After the inter-agency conference of security groups at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) earlier, Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 Director Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan said they have not identified any suspect yet for the bombing which took 14 lives and injured 67 as of 3:00 p.m.

“There are no suspects yet, we are still investigating the CCTV videos as well as the witnesses,” Gaerlan said.

Gaerlan’s statement was contrary to what went viral earlier, saying that a terror group Abu Rami admitted they are behind the attack.

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“Anybody can claim that, they can use that to further terrorize people,” he added.

The police regional director said, however, that they are not discounting any factors which could give light to what happened.

Among which that they are suspecting with possible motives are some of the vendors who got mad for being prohibited to continue to operate in the night market.

Early August, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has ordered the closure of the market due to vendors’ “uncontrollable behaviors” or violations.

It was then reopened on August 13, a few days before the Kadayawan Festival, but with lesser vendors.

A raffle was done to pick who would be allowed to operate so that the area would be more organized and would not cause traffic.

Task force formed

Police forces have also coordinated with the military to fast-track the operation. Hence, a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) was formed.

Gaerlan will supervise the group while Deputy Regional Director for Operations (DRDO) Senior Superintendent Valeriano de Leon was designated as the group’s commander. Davao City Police Director Senior Superintendent Michael John Dubria is the assistant commander.

The police also conducted a re-enactment of the bombing to deduce where the bomb was planted and possibly identify the culprit through the CCTV videos of the neighboring establishments.

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