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Jakarta Post

Jakarta seeks confirmation on alleged role of Indonesians in Jolo attacks

  • Dian Septiari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, February 2, 2019   /   11:46 am
Jakarta seeks confirmation on alleged role of Indonesians in Jolo attacks Gruesome scene: A Philippine Army soldier walks inside a church after a bomb attack in Jolo, Sulu province, the Philippines, on Sunday. (Armed Forces of the Philippines - Western Mindanao Command/Handout via Reuters/-)

Indonesia has not been able to confirm allegations made by a senior Philippine official that an Indonesian couple was behind the deadly church bombing that killed dozens of people in the southern Philippines.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and the Indonesian mission in Manila were still trying to get confirmation from various parties in the neighboring country,  said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir on Friday.

“The latest information we received [Friday] from the Philippine National Police and the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) military command is that the identity and nationality of the perpetrators of the bombing in Jolo have not yet been established,” Arrmanatha said.

Philippine Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano told reporters he was certain that an Indonesian man and wife were behind Sunday's attack on the mainly Muslim island of Jolo, which killed 22 people and wounded more than 100, including civilians and soldiers.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for what it said were suicide bombings. Such attacks are almost unheard of in the Philippines.

"They are Indonesians," Ano, a former military chief, was quoted by a number of media including CNN Philippines. "I am certain that they are Indonesians."

Ano said the couple had received help from Abu Sayyaf, a militant organization notorious for kidnappings and extremist factions.

He said those who plotted the attack would have been under the instruction of an operative he said had been recognized by the Islamic State group.

Indonesian militants have long maintained communication with Islamist groups in the southern Philippines. A number of Indonesians linked to the Jemaah Ansharud Daulah group are believed to have joined the Maute militants during the 2017 armed conflict between the militant group and Philippine security forces in Marawi.