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DNA test shows Asian suicide bombers pulled off Jolo blasts, police say

By: Consuelo Marquez - Reporter / @ConsINQ - Inquirer.net | September 10,2020 - 05:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The suicide bombers in the Aug. 24 twin blasts in Jolo, Sulu were Asians as shown in a recent DNA test results, police said Thursday.

“Pagdating sa DNA, they (Crime Laboratory members) said na yung dalawang (that the two) suicide bombers are both Asians. They could not determine the age, unfortunately,” Lt. Col. Kris Conrad Gutierrez, spokesman of special investigation task group for probing the Aug. 24 attack, said in a phone interview with Inquirer.net when sought for updates about the DNA test of the suicide bombers.

Gutierrez said the DNA tests also showed that the recent suicide bombers were not related to the perpetrators of the Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu in 2019. Authorities said the suicide bombers in the church were an Indonesian couple.

Police have yet to compare the DNA of Norman Lasuca, the first Filipino suicide bomber, with the recent suicide bombers, Gutierrez noted.

“Ang nangyari po ngayon is yung DNA ng Cathedral bombers yung na-compare dun sa recent na bombers so hindi pa nagagawa yung Lasuca and recent bombers,” he said.

(What happened was the DNA of Cathedral bombers were the only ones compared but we have not yet conducted a DNA comparison of Lasuca and the recent bombers.)

In a previous report, Army chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, former chief of Western Mindanao Command, said the female suicide bombers of the twin explosions last Aug. 24 were likely the wives of Lasuca and Talha Jumsah who had links with the Islamic State.

Lasuca died in June 2019 after detonating a bomb inside a camp in Indanan, Sulu where more than 10 people were killed.

Since the DNA test could not further identify the bombers, Gutierrez said the bombers’ family members can coordinate with police to help them verify the identity of the perpetrators.

“Otherwise may lumabas na kamag-anak na sabihin na kamag-anak siya or kung may database na sinasabi na itong DNA ng bombers is related to bombers na mga nauna, medyo technical na yun at profiling na gagawin doon,” he said.

(Unless otherwise there is information that they are relatives of these suicide bombers and we have a database that confirms that the DNA of these bombers are related to past bombers, this will be technical and we will do profiling.)

Cops file raps vs suspects

Police have filed criminal complaints against almost 30 suspects believed to be involved in the suicide bombing incident in Jolo which left 15 people dead and 75 wounded, the task group spokesman said.

“Regarding sa filed cases, we filed last Sept. 4, 15 suspects sa first blast. 14 sa second blast,” Gutierrez said.

(For the filed cases, we filed last Sept. 4, 15 suspects in the first blast and 14 for the second.)

The first blast happened at a food shop in Barangay Walled City in Jolo. After an hour, another explosion occurred at the Goteckleng Building, one hundred meters away from the first attack.

Gutierrez said he has yet to disclose the names of the accomplices but noted that some are suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“Some of them are ASG members. ‘Yung iba naman tinitignan pa kung ano affiliation nung iba (We are still looking at the affiliation of others),” he said.

Aside from this, police also discovered that the explosive device used in the twin explosions was a pipe bomb.

“They conferred it, na yung composition is ammonium nitrate fuel oil and type of IED (improvised explosive device) or explosive device is the pipe bomb,” Gutierrez said. [ac]

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