Manila says first Filipino ‘suicide bomber’ behind terror attack
AFP: Philippine security forces confirmed yesterday that at least one Filipino “suicide bomber” was behind a deadly attack last month, in a first for the Asian country.
Norman Lasuca and one other yet to be identified suspect blew themselves up outside a military camp on the remote southern island of Jolo on June 28 in an attack that also killed three soldiers and two civilians, the police and military said. “We can now confirm… the incidence of the first suicide bombing in the Philippines, perpetrated by a Filipino in the person of Norman Lasuca,” military spokesman Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo told a news conference. The Jolo bombing marks a worrying escalation of militancy driven by the influence of the Daesh group in Southeast Asia, security experts earlier told AFP. A decades-old Islamist insurgency in the southern Philippines has killed tens of thousands.
But suicide attacks have been used extremely rarely, with foreign fighters blamed for the few that have been carried out. National police spokesman Bernard Banac described last month’s bombing as “a locally initiated attack organised by the Abu Sayyaf group”, a Jolo-based gang of militants engaged in kidnappings and bombings.
Philippine authorities said the two suspected Jolo bombers’ remains were tested for DNA, and one matched that of Lasuca’s mother and brother, who are both Tausugs, the predominant Muslim ethnic group in Jolo. Experts are still attempting to identify the second bomber, Banac said. However, he acknowledged that “the security environment in our country has changed” and civilians should help the security forces combat the new threat.
They must ensure prospective recruits “won’t be radicalised by terrorist groups (who are) only waiting for the right time and individual to bring to the road of extremism,” he said.