‘No indication of suicide bombing’ in MSU Marawi explosion

MARAWI. Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr. visits the Mindanao State University Dimaporo Gymnasium in Marawi City after the bombing on Sunday, December 3, 2023.
MARAWI. Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr. visits the Mindanao State University Dimaporo Gymnasium in Marawi City after the bombing on Sunday, December 3, 2023. Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Monday, December 4, 2023, that there is no indication that a suicide bomber is responsible for the bloody terror attack at the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City over the weekend.

In a press conference, PNP Public Information Office (PIO) chief Colonel Jean Fajardo said all the four fatalities, one male and three female, have already been identified but she refused to divulge their names.

“Wala pong indication na meron ganun (suicide bomber). Kausap ko ‘yung [Police Provincial Director] because mga Kristiyano ito. Ongoing ‘yung Mass nung mangyari ito. In fact, ‘yung apat na biktima are all Christians. So wala pong indicators na may suicide bombing na involved sa insidente,” said Fajardo.

(There is no indication that there is such a thing (suicide bomber). I talked to the [Police Provincial Director] because these are Christians. Mass was going on when this happened. In fact, the four victims are all Christians. So there are no indicators that there was a suicide bombing involved in the incident.)

“As to the manner of which triggering device was used, whether it’s cellphone operated or battery operated that will somehow give us an idea on what group was behind it. You’re right that the groups behind sa previous bombings have signature mode of triggering device. So let’s wait for the official report,” she added in a mix of English and Filipino.

She said of the 45 wounded victims, six remain in the hospital for medical treatment.

Fajardo said investigators have identified two persons of interest allegedly responsible for the explosion.

She said these persons were alleged members of a local terrorist group responsible for several bombing incidents in the regions over the past months, but they are not ruling out the possibility that foreign terrorists could also be involved as earlier stated by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Aside from the fragments of 60-mm mortar, investigators also recovered a bag where the explosives were allegedly placed by the perpetrators.

Fajardo said investigators are backtracking using the closed circuit television (CCTV) footage in the vicinity of the school, noting there was no CCTV in the exact area of the explosion, which is inside the Dimaporo Gymnasium of MSU.

While they are yet to monitor threats, Fajardo assured that necessary security measures were in place not only in Mindanao but also in other parts of the country, including Metro Manila, to prevent similar incidents from happening especially amid the upcoming holiday season.

“Kontrolado naman ‘yung sitwasyon and also our AFP is close coordination with the PNP. Nagdagdag na tayo ng personnel doon sa area na Lanao del Sur. Nagpadala tayo ng isang company ng provincial mobile force company at regional mobile force battalion and ‘yung AFP rin ay naprovide ng augmentation,” she said.

(The situation is under control and also our Armed Forces of the Philippines are in close coordination with the Philippine National Police. We have added personnel to the Lanao del Sur area. We sent a company of provincial mobile force company and regional mobile force battalion and the AFP was also provided with augmentation.)

“Well, hindi ko narining personally ‘yung kanilang sinabi but on the part of the security forces, ‘yung inilalatag nating security ay based doon assessment natin kaya nga mismo ‘yung ating Chief PNP ang pumunta kahapon to personally assess the situation there. ‘Yung mga counter measures na inimplement natin effective yesterday is the counter measure we deemed necessary to at least have a resemblance of normalcy doon sa lugar. So ‘yung sinasabi nilang overreacting. They are entitled to their opinion but on the part of the PNP, the Chief PNP himself together with the field commanders in the area has made a threat assessment and kung ano man nilatag nating countermeasures are still in effect until today,” she added. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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