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Jakarta Post

Manila's claim still 'one-sided' on Jolo bombing Indonesian couple, says Jakarta

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, February 4, 2019   /   02:40 pm
Manila's claim still 'one-sided' on Jolo bombing Indonesian couple, says Jakarta Aftermath: A Philippine soldier walks inside the Our Lady of Mount Carmel cathedral after a bomb attack on Jan. 27 in Jolo, Sulu province, the Philippines. (Armed Forces of the Philippines - Western Mindanao Command/Handout via Reuters/-)

A statement from Manila that claimed that an Indonesian couple was behind the deadly Jan. 27 bombing of a church on Jolo island was still one-sided claim, Jakarta said on Monday.

Efforts to verify the information was still underway and involved Indonesia’s National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) and Foreign Ministry, said Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto.

“Relevant authorities are still investigating who exactly was behind this attack. There are still many possibilities,” he said. “So don’t conclude rashly that Indonesian citizens were [the perpetrators].”

The government planned to deploy officials from the BNPT and the Foreign Ministry to the Philippines to gain clear understanding of the incident, said Wiranto: “We should not be trapped by a one-sided statement. We should await [the investigation].”

Following the Jan. 27 bomb attack on the Our Lady of Mount Carmel cathedral on the majority Muslim island of Jolo in the Philippines' Sulu province, Philippine Interior Secretary Eduardo Año stated that an Indonesian man and his wife were behind the attack, according to an AFP report. 

At least 22 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded in the bombing.

In his statement, Año said that the information had been obtained from undisclosed sources and witnesses. The couple was believed to have received help from Islamic State (IS), which had claimed responsibility for the attack.

On the morning of the day after the bombing, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry condemned the attack on its Twitter account and conveyed its condolences to the Philippine government and the victims' families.