Philippine Military Pins Deadly Twin Explosions on Female Suicide Bombers

Army chief Cirilio Sobejana said one of the bombers was an Indonesian national. Indonesia denies this.
jolo sulu philippines bombing
Military personnel stretcher away some of the victims after an improvised bomb exploded next to a military vehicle in the town of Jolo on Sulu island on August 24, 2020. Photo: AFP / Nickee BUTLANGAN

The Philippine military said on Tuesday, August 25, that two female suicide bombers may have been responsible for a bombing attack in a southern Philippine town that left at least 15 people dead.

Two explosives detonated on Monday, August 24, at a busy commercial area in the Sulu province, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Group—a terrorist cell that has allied with the Islamic State.

The attack killed 15 people and left at least 78 others injured, Reuters reported. 


Cirilio Sobejana, the chief of the Philippine Army, was quoted by local media as saying that it was possible one of the suicide bombers could have been the Indonesian widow of Norman Lasuca, a Philippine national who detonated an explosive device tied to his torso in Sulu last year.

Authorities have tagged the Abu Sayyaf Group as responsible for Monday’s deadly attack. 

Indonesia has denied that one of its citizens was involved in the bombings.

“We have contacted the Philippine authorities, and the bomber is not an Indonesian,” Agus Buana, an Indonesian Embassy spokesperson, told local media Kumparan. “There has been no confirmation that an Indonesian citizen committed the suicide bombing. If they are indeed from Indonesia, then we should have made a statement about it.”

A spokesperson from the Indonesian foreign ministry told VICE News they have not yet received information on the matter. 

The Sulu province in the southernmost part of the Philippines is a hotbed for the Abu Sayyaf Group. The group has carried out deadly bombings and kidnapping of foreign nationals in the past.

Last year, twin explosions rocked a local cathedral during Sunday mass, leaving at least 20 people dead and over 100 injured.

The Philippine Army has recommended that President Rodrigo Duterte place the area under martial law, but the proposal was opposed by senators who said the recently passed anti-terror law should be enough to deter future attacks.