Philippine authorities filed murder charges Monday against five suspected Abu Sayyaf militants who surrendered after being accused of involvement in the twin bombings that killed 22 people at a Catholic Church in the southern town of Jolo, the country’s police chief said.
But authorities struggled on Monday to determine the real identities of the bombers who set off the brazen attack at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Jan. 27.
“I am pleased to announce the surrender over the weekend of the Kammah L. Pae and four other persons who performed individual roles in that incident,” National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde told reporters.
“The five surrendered due to the massive hot-pursuit operations by troops from the Patikul municipal police station,” working alongside the army, Albayalde said, adding that complaints of murder and attempted murder have been filed against the five men.
Members of Indonesia’s elite Densus 88 anti-terrorism personnel arrived in Manila on Monday to help probe suspicions that an Indonesian couple were involved in the church attack, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año told reporters.
But Wiranto, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for security, legal and political affairs, said Philippine authorities should not have jumped the gun.
“It’s just one-sided news,” he said. “There are many possibilities. Don’t rush to the conclusion that they were Indonesians.”
Full story: BenarNews
Jeoffrey Maitem and Mark Navales
Cotabato City, Philippines.
Froilan Gallardo in Cagayan de Oro, Richel V. Umel in Iligan, Dennis Jay Santos in Davao and Joseph Jubelag in General Santos, Philippines, and M. Sulthan Azzam in Padang, Indonesia, contributed to this report.
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