MANILA The Philippine Secretary of National Defense confirmed on Monday that last weeks bombings on a military camp in Sulu province was a suicide attack, in which eight people three soldiers, three civilians and two perpetrators were killed, while 22 were wounded.
The explosions occurred around midday Friday at a camp of the 1st Brigade Combat Team in the city of Indanan.
According to a military report, an individual had approached the entrance and when the guard went to inquire, the explosion occurred, said Delfin Lorenzana referring to one of the twin blasts in the attack claimed by the Islamic State terror group.
The authorities are still investigating the attack, which they attribute to the Abu Sayyaf group that has pledged loyalty to the IS, and which currently has most of its members in the Sulu archipelago, in the region known as Muslim Mindanao, southwest Philippines.
Lorenzana said this was the third suicide attack in the country, after one in January on a cathedral in Jolo, the capital of Sulu, in which some 20 people died and around 100 were wounded; and another in August last year in nearby Basilan the heartland of the Abu Sayyaf in which about a dozen people died.
Although Islamic terrorism is not new in the Philippines, the suicide attacks do not correspond to the modus operandi of local groups and pose a new threat in Muslim Mindanao, where earlier this year a new autonomous region was carved out as a result of a peace agreement with Muslim rebel groups.
Lorenzana said the government was very concerned by this new situation, while several analysts have warned that the southern Philippines was becoming the new refuge of foreign terrorists that have fled the defeated IS caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
These fresh attacks come after a period of relative calm in the region following the long siege of Marawi by the extremist groups among them Abu Sayyaf and which ended with the defeat of the terrorist outfits after five months of fighting between May and October 2017.