Abu Sayyaf, JI ‘no. 1 suspects’ in bombings - military chief
Quezon City (11 October) -- MILITARY Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. blamed the Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) for the triple bombings in the southern Philippines, which have occurred over the last 24 hours.
Esperon said the al Qaeda-linked groups wanted to distract the military's attention from pursuit operations against their leaders in the province of Sulu and avenge the capture of the wife of JI bomb expert Dulmatin.
Esperon said the military was also not discounting the possibility that the attacks were the handiwork of groups out to sabotage the stalled peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
He said intelligence reports also warned of upcoming terrorist attacks in Zamboanga City and Carmen town in North Cotabato province.
"We can't give 100-percent assurance, but we will do all we can in coordination with the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies so we can stop all these plans," he said.
The military chief said there would be "no let up" in the hunt for Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani and JI members Dulmatin and Umar Patek, the alleged masterminds of the 2002 Bali bombings, who are believed to be hiding in the jungles of Patikul town in Sulu. (PIA) [top]