Three soldiers were killed Friday when two suspected
Islamist militants detonated bombs at the entrance of an army camp in
the southern Philippines, also killing themselves, the military said.
Twelve soldiers were wounded in the attack on the camp in Indanan town in Sulu province, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila, said Major Arvin Encinas, a regional military spokesman. The camp was the headquarters of the army's 1st Brigade Combat Team, which was recently deployed to Sulu to help neutralize the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, the most violent jihadist organization in the southern Philippines.
"This attack is meant to disrupt the [military's] intensified security operations and our operational tempo following [a] series of recent operational gains in the area," said army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said. Encinas said the first bomber was accosted at the gate of the camp upon inspection, but was still able to detonate the explosive. "The other bomber was able to enter the gate and was also able to detonate [the second improvised explosive device]," he added.
"The second explosion happened less than a minute after." Investigators were still determining the type of explosives used in the attack and the identities of the bombers, but authorities were not discounting the possibility that the Abu Sayyaf was behind the bombing, Encinas said.
The attack occurred as a new regional military commander, Major General Cirilito Sobejana, took his post in nearby Zamboanga City. "We will intensify our offensives to crush terrorist groups that hamper the stability and development in Sulu, ensuring that all actions are in accordance with the law," he added.
The Abu Sayyaf is believed to be allied with the Islamic State terrorist network and has been blamed for some of the worst terrorist attacks in the country as well as high-profile kidnappings for ransom and beheadings.
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