The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has come forward to claim responsibility for bombing the night market in Davao City, killing 14 people and wounding 67 others, on Friday evening.
According to radio station dzMM, the ASG spokesperson Abu Rami owned up the blast at the Roxas Night Market.
Rami described the bombing as a “call for unity to all mujahideen in the country,” referring to other Islamic guerilla fighters.
He added that the blast serves as the group’s warning to the Philippine government led by President Rodrigo Duterte, former Davao City.
Rami said that the attack is not a diversionary tactic amid the government’s declaration of an all-out-offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and Basilan.
He warned that more bombing attacks will be orchestrated in the coming days.
Duterte sent more troops to finish off the 400-member terror group after the death of 15 soldiers in an encounter in Patikul, Sulu.
Before Rami owned up to the attack, GMA News reported that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to be on high alert, especially in urban centers.
He also tagged the Abu Sayyaf for the bombing.
“While nobody has come up to own the act we can only assume that this was perpetrated by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf that has suffered heavy casualties in Jolo in the past weeks,” Lorenzana said.
“We have predicted this and has warned our troops accordingly but the enemy is also adept at using the democratic space granted by our constitution to move around freely and unimpeded to sow terror,” he added.
According to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa that the attack was a “diversionary move.”
He added that the terror group could be trying “to ease up the pressure that they have been experiencing in Sulu” after Duterte ordered to “destroy” them.
Asked whether Abu Sayyaf was taunting the government through the bombing, dela Rosa replied, “Yeah, ano pa bang ibig sabihin noon? Talagang hinahamon tayo.”
Duterte insists bombing was not a result of “failure of intelligence”
Duterte said that there was no “failure of intelligence” in the night market bombing in Davao City.
“I remember warning everybody that there’s going to be a reprisal because of the ongoing war in Sulu,” Duterte said.
“We were forewarned. We were ready for this. There was a warning, not only in Jolo but (in) other places also,” he added.
But the President declined to give more information gathered by the military and police, saying that they are still solving the case.