Forensic testing conducted to determine gender of suspected suicide bomber
The Western Mindanao Command said they received information that the Abu Sayyaf were planning a series of IED attacks targeting security forces and civilians. This information led them to beef up security which consequently helped them thwart the suicide bombing attempt last Sunday.
Forensic testing conducted to determine gender of suspected suicide bomber
Roel Pareño ( - September 9, 2019 - 4:04pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The military said they could not ascertain yet the identity and gender of the suspected suicide bomber who wore a hijab, a head covering worn by Muslim women, as a disguise when the explosion occurred at a military checkpoint late Sunday afternoon in Indanan, Sulu.

Maj. Arvin John Encinas, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said a Scene of the Crime Operatives team of the Philippine National Police conducted forensic tests using the collected tissue samples from the remains of the suspect.

“That’s what we want to establish first the gender of the suspect. Because it appeared the face looked like [a] woman as the suspect was sporting long hair but the severed hand appeared like [a man's]. That is why we have not establish[ed] yet, for now, the identity,” Encinas said.

READ: Suicide bomber attacks Sulu military camp

He said they are just waiting for the results from the SOCO team.

The military official said they could also identify the suspect since the decapitated head’s face was also severely mangled from the blast.

The suspect, whose face was covered with a hijab, approached the military detachment in the vicinity of Barangay Kajatian before sundown Sunday and detonated the improvised explosive device. The IED was strapped on the suspect's body.

Troops who found the suspect suspicious took cover and prevented the suspect from sneaking inside the detachment.

The explosion was barely a kilometer away from the base of the 1st Brigade Combat Team where two suicide bombers detonated explosives last June 28. The blast killed five people and wounded 11 others.

According to Encinas, they could not determine yet if the suicide bomber was among the foreign militants being coddled by the Abu Sayyaf.

READ: What you need to know about the Abu Sayyaf

As this developed, the military said they received reports that the Islamic State-inspired Abu Sayyaf would be conducting a series of IED attacks targeting security forces and civilians.

Encinas said the information prompted ground forces to enhance security which, he added, helped them thwart the suicide bombing attempt last Sunday.

“We have been receiving reports that they will be conducting [a] series of IED bombings targeting our security forces and populated areas,” Encinas said.

“Because of the alertness of our troops they did not succeed [in] their attempt to inflict mass casualty on the troops.”

Meanwhile, the military admitted it could not impose controls on the wearing of the hijab, used by the suspected suicide bomber to conceal the IED, as religious beliefs must be respected.

“The religious leaders should be the one to answer it, because we cannot prevent them (from wearing) in respect to their religious belief. So, it should be the local government units and the religious leaders have to find... ways to prevent criminals from abusing the wearing of the attire,” Encinas said.

Encinas also assured the public that the military is in control of the security situation on the island of Sulu.

He said they have adopted measures to prevent terrorists from conducting IED attacks against military camps.

“This time they (terrorists) failed,” Encinas said.

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