Jolo bombers initially identified as Abu Sayyaf members' widows
This August 24, 2020 shows the aftermath of the twin explosions that killed at least nine people, including four Army troopers, and injured 18 others in Jolo, Sulu.
(Photos courtesy of the 11th Division and Joint Task Force Sulu) | via Roel Pareño

Jolo bombers initially identified as Abu Sayyaf members' widows

Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - August 26, 2020 - 3:56pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The military has identified the two female suicide bombers in last Monday's explosions in Jolo, Sulu that killed 14 people, mostly soldiers and civilians, and wounded 78 others.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, chief of the Philippine Army, said the suicide bombers were identified as "alias Nanh" — widow of the first known Filipino bomber Norman Lasuca — and "alias Indah Nay" — widow of slain Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Talha Jumsah.

Jumsah, alias Abu Talha, was the Abu Sayyaf liaison with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

"Yes, that is true, the two were the wives of the first Filipino suicide bomber and that of the slain ASG-ISIS conduit. The information were based on the initial findings of our ground forces," Sobejana said.

Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, also confirmed the initial information.

He said police forensic experts are getting more evidence to ascertain the identities of the suicide bombers.

"Yes, but it is still to be scientifically proven," according to Vinluan, who was in Jolo Wednesday for security meeting with Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan Sr. and the local government units of the province.

Lasuca and another suicide bomber said to be of Moroccan descent struck with their bombs the camp of the 1st Brigade Combat Team in Barangay Kajatian in Indanan town on June 28, 2019. The bombing killed five people and injured 11 others.

Abu Talha, on the other hand, was killed on November 22, 2019 when Army Scout Rangers pounced on an Abu Sayyaf lair in Barangay Tanum in Patikul town.

August 24 bombings

The first female suicide bomber exploded the IED strapped in her body between the military M450 and M35 trucks that parked temporarily in front of Paradise Food Plaza along Serantes Street, just across the public plaza and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathderal, which had also been bombed in January 2019.

The second attacker, another female suicide bomber clad in a burqa, detonated her bomb after she was prevented by Pvt. John Agustin from breaching a cordon around the first blast site.

Vinluan visited soldiers injured in the blasts to check on their condition at the military hospital inside Camp Gen. Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo and awarded them medals.

Vinluan also visited Tuesday five of the injured soldiers who were brought to Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City and awarded them medals.

At least seven soldiers, a police officer and six civilians were killed while those injured include 24 soldiers, 6 police, and 48 civilians.

Vinluan said a massive pursuit operation has been launched against the Abu Sayyaf group while intelligence units are tracking down other possible suicide bombers to prevent similar attacks.

Gen. Gilbert Gabay, Armed Forces chief of staff, vowed Wednesday to exact justice against the perpetrators of the terror attack.

"No sensible religion or ideology would ever endorse these hapless attacks. We extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims. Rest assured that their sacrifices will not be in vain," Gapay said in a statement.

Gapay said combat and intelligence operations have been intensified to pursue those responsible. He also appealed to the public to be calm, vigilant, and do their share in keeping their communities safe through cooperation with government authorities.

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