Two people died while at least four others were injured following a grenade blast inside a mosque in Zamboanga City before dawn yesterday in what is feared to be a possible retaliatory attack on the bloody Jolo Cathedral bombing in Sulu three days earlier.
But police officials would not comment on the possible link between the two attacks, saying it would be prudent to wait for the outcome of the investigation which the national police leadership has already ordered.
“We are still investigating. We cannot speculate on the motive as of yet,” said Chief Supt. Emmanuel Luis Licup, director of the Zamboanga Peninsula regional police.
At around 3:30 a.m. yesterday, an unidentified man allegedly lobbed a grenade inside a mosque located in Logoy Diutay in Barangay Talon-Talon in Zamboanga City.
The ensuing blast killed 46-year old Rex Habil and 47-year old Sattal Bato who sustained serious injuries.
Licup said the explosion also wounded Yasson Asgali, 46; Paulo Slahuddin, 41; Albani Jikilani, 67; Amidz Kassara, 30.
Local investigators are eyeing two likely motives. It could be personal targeting one or two victims or some people are riding on the Jolo attack.
Twenty-one people died while more than 100 others were injured when two bombs ripped through a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu Sunday.
Most of the victims were churchgoers while some are members of the security forces who were tasked to secure the church.
Chief Supt. Graciano Mijares, director of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) regional police, said they are coordinating with the Zamboanga Peninsula regional police leadership and the military for coordination and assistance in the investigation.
The province of Sulu where the bomb attack occurred is under the ARMM regional police.
“We remain committed to peace and stability in the region, and stands by the people of Zamboanga City who want peace and a future free from these horrific acts of violence,” said Mijares.
“We are appealing to the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities and individuals to prevent these inhumane acts,” he added.
In a statement, the Ulama Council of Zamboanga Peninsula has expressed condemnation on what it described as devilish, irrational and inhumane act.
“We call upon the Zamboangeneos to be calm yet vigilant with current bombing incident in Masjid Jutay in Barangay Talon Talon Zamboanga City. We share the grief of the families who lost their loved ones and sincerely extend our condolences to them in the most comforting manner that a human being may,” the statement read. (Aaron Recuenco)