Evidence on Indonesians' involvement in Jolo bombing unreleased by PNP

Evidence on Indonesians' involvement in Jolo bombing unreleased by PNP

Victims of the bombing in Jolo Island, southern Philippines on January 27. (Armed Forces of the Philippines -Western Mindanao Command/Handout via REUTERS)

Jakarta, (ANTARA News) - The Philippines National Police (PNP) has yet to release evidence on an Indonesian couple's involvement in the Jan 27 church bombing in Jolo Island, southern Philippines, Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Sinyo Harry Sarundajang stated.

"The local authorities have yet to release the result of DNA test and official records of CCTV at the scene that showed that the two perpetrators, as mentioned by Secretary Ano (Secretary of Interior Eduardo Ano), are Indonesians," Sarundajang noted in a statement here on Tuesday.

At a press conference in Visayas Province on Feb 1, Philippine Secretary of Interior and Local Government Eduardo Ano said he was certain that an Indonesian man, identified as Abu Huda, and his wife were behind Sunday's attack on the mainly Muslim island of Jolo.

A total of 22 people were killed and over 100 individuals, including civilians and soldiers, were wounded in the attack.

The couple was assisted by Kamah, a member of the Abu Sayyaf-affiliated group Ajang Ajang, that has declared its support to ISIS.

However, according to the Indonesian Embassy in Manila and Indonesian Consulate General in Davao, the Philippines' National Intelligence Cooperation Agency (NICA) did not see the basis of Minister Ano`s statement on Indonesians' involvement in the attack.

"When contacted by the Indonesian Embassy in Manila, the NICA has informally expressed readiness to conduct joint investigation with the Indonesian government," Sarundajang noted.

According to the Indonesian Embassy`s record, it was not the first time that the Philippines authority had conveyed such baseless information on the involvement of Indonesians in bomb attacks in the country.

Similar claims were made in two earlier bombings in Lamitan City of Basilan Province on July 31, 2018, and in Cotabato City on New Year`s Eve.

"However, the investigation showed there were no Indonesians involved in the two bombings as stated by the officials and media reports," Sarundajang remarked.

The embassy will seek clarification with the Philippine Secretary of Interior and Local Government.

The government will also sent a diplomatic note to seek clarification from the Philippines and to convey objection over the absence of notification regarding the allegation of Indonesians' involvement in the Jolo bomb attack.

Reporting by Yashinta Difa Pramudyani, Sri Haryati