MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine authorities referred to as for calm on Wednesday after a grenade assault on a mosque in a primarily Christian southern province killed two individuals, simply three days after a devastating church bombing shook the restive Mindanao area.
A shattered window is seen after a grenade assault on a mosque in Zamboanga, Philippines, January 30, 2019, on this nonetheless picture taken from a video from social media. Zamboanga Fast Response System/by way of REUTERS
A grenade was thrown right into a mosque in the course of the night time in Zamboanga, killing two individuals and wounding 4 others, prompting condemnation and requires cool heads and unity amongst Christian and Muslim communities with a protracted historical past of peaceable coexistence.
The grenade incident got here a number of hours after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on tv stated an assault on a church that killed 21 individuals on primarily Muslim Jolo island could have concerned a suicide bomber.
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday stated the second of two explosions within the church was “most likely” a suicide bombing, however stated it was not clear if Islamic State was actually behind it, because it had not revealed the identification of the “martyr”.
Islamic State has claimed involvement, however the navy consider it was the work of the Muslim militant Abu Sayyaf group.
Lorenzana advised reporters forensic exams could be carried out to attempt to set up if the suspected bomber was a foreigner.
If confirmed, it will be the second identified case of a suicide assault within the Philippines lately, following a bomb in a van final July on neighboring Basilan island, which killed 11 individuals and was claimed by Islamic State.
Lorenzana stated there was no connection between the church bombs and the mosque assault, echoing remarks by a neighborhood activity pressure commander that it was “not a retaliatory act”.
‘COWARDICE AND OBSCENITY’
Zamboanga’s Ulama Council referred to as it “devilish, irrational and inhumane”, whereas the regional governor condemned the church and mosque incidents and stated an assault throughout prayers was the “highest type of cowardice and obscenity”.
“We should stand united towards the terrorists who would divide us and, thus, destroy all that we’re working to construct and set up in our communities,” governor Mujiv Hataman stated on his Fb web page.
Muslims are a minority within the predominantly Catholic Philippines and characterize a few quarter of the inhabitants of the Mindanao area, the place Communal violence is uncommon.
The assaults observe a peaceable Jan. 21 referendum that overwhelmingly authorized autonomy for the estimated 5 million inhabitants of predominantly Muslim components of Mindanao that might be referred to as “Bangsamoro”, the end result of a prolonged peace course of between separatists and successive governments.
Duterte on Monday ordered the navy to destroy the notoriously brutal Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State and is comprised of quite a few cells with totally different agendas, some radical, others prison.
He stated he wouldn’t settle for their give up, including “the one technique to battle them is to turn into evil additionally.”
The navy has recognized a number of suspects and carried out an air strike on Jolo on Tuesday on an undisclosed goal.
The bombings, and Islamic State’s declare of involvement, might stoke fears concerning the group’s attain in Southeast Asia and about overseas fighters gravitating to Mindanao to capitalize on porous borders, jungles, and abundance of weapons and jobless, unschooled youth.
Martial legislation has been in place in Mindanao since a pro-Islamic State alliance overran Marawi Metropolis in 2017, in what was the Philippines’ most intense battle since World Struggle Two.
Writing and Further reporting by Martin Petty; Enhancing by Michael Perry