08/06/2010, 00.00
PHILIPPINES

Christian suspected in suicide bomb attack on Zamboanga airport

The explosion occurred yesterday, causing 2 deaths and 24 wounded. The man was a respected person from the Christian community. According to AsiaNews sources the suicide bomber was in fact a victim. Police and army investigations reveal he that brought the parcel bomb inside the airport without knowing it.

Zamboanga (AsiaNews) -  A Christian is the suspected of being the suicide bomber yesterday who blew himself up in Zamboanga aiport (Mindanao), killing a passer-by and leaving 24 wounded. But AsiaNews sources emphasize that the first suicide bomber in the Philippines may actually be a victim himself. Police and Army today revealed that the bomber may have been carrying the bomb without knowing it.

“Preliminary investigations reveal that it does not appear to be a suicide bomb attack - said gen. Benjamin Dolorfino Mindanao Army Chief.  “It 's possible - he added – that someone may have sent the man to the aiprot with the briefcase without telling him what it contained".

According to AsiaNews sources, the man was a respected person in the Christian community, and nothing suggests that he would have carried out such an extreme act. The sources point out that he was carrying identity papers, which is very strange for a suicide bomber.

Army officers believe the attack was linked to the U.S. ambassador's visit to Zamboanga in the Philippines, scheduled for today and cancelled for security reasons. For the moment they have excluded the involvement of Islamic rebels of Abu Sayyaf, who are very active in the area but have never been authors of suicide bombings.

Instead, the suspect Sakura Tan, governor of Sulu Muslim was injured in the blast and who immediately claimed to be the main target of the attack. "The bomb - he said - exploded right beside me, and this can not be a coincidence." Tan says he recently received an intelligence report that warned about a possible attack on him by political rivals to terrorists linked to Abu Sayyaf. Despite these statements, the police have not yet taken into account the version of the governor who, as mayor of Jolo (Sulu) was among the suspects in cases of violence against Christians.

This morning, Mgr. Romulo Valles of Zamboanga bishop, asked the army to take serious security measures to protect the public. The prelate expressed his condolences to the bereaved families emphasizing how this act of terrorism reminds us all of the climate of violence that afflicts the region of Mindanao, for forty years the theater of war between the army and Islamic rebels.  

 

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