Police reported on Monday that they have identified more than two persons of interest in the deadly bomb attack that occurred on Sunday at the Dimaporo Gymnasium in Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for this attack.
“We have persons of interest and one of our persons of interest pointed on ‘yung local terrorist,” Bangsamoro Police Regional Office chief Police Brigadier General Allan Nobleza said.
The Islamic State group, asserting its influence in the southern part of the country, claimed responsibility for the bomb attack at Mindanao State University’s Dimaporo Gymnasium.
“Mayroon kaming (we have) persons of interest but the investigation is still ongoing. In order not to preempt the investigation we will not divulge the names,” Nobleza said.
Nobleza stated that the police are exploring various angles in the investigation. To streamline and expedite the inquiry, a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) has been established.
A full alert status has been implemented across the entirety of Mindanao to preempt any potential further attacks, as mentioned by Nobleza.
Over 2 persons of interest in MSU bombing identified
Simultaneously, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is in the process of verifying the Islamic State’s claim. Colonel Xerxes Trinidad, the AFP public affairs office chief, indicated that the military is also examining the potential involvement of Dawlah Islamiyah – Maute Group in the incident, which resulted in the loss of four lives.
“The AFP is validating the claims made by ISIS in the recent news reports as well as the involvement of the DI-Maute Group in this heinous acts of terror,” Trinidad told reporters.
The explosion occurred at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday during a Mass at the gym attended by students and teachers.
As reported by Nobleza, the incident resulted in four fatalities and 45 injuries. Among the wounded, 35 have already been discharged from the hospital. Currently, 10 individuals remain hospitalized, with five of them in critical condition.
Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. mentioned on Sunday that there are strong indications of a potential foreign element associated with the bombing attack. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. condemned the incident, characterizing it as “senseless and most heinous acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists.”
Regarding the specific identity of the foreign party mentioned by Marcos, Teodoro stated that they are not authorized to disclose such information. He also refrained from commenting on whether the MSU bombing is linked to the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants.