MANILA, July 2, (Agencies): Philippine authorities have identified as a Filipino militant one of two suicide attackers who set off bombs last week that killed five people and the bombers in a southern army camp, a Filipino general said Tuesday.
Maj Gen Cirilito Sobejana told The Associated Press that the family of the 23-year-old militant, Norman Lasuca, has identified him as one of the bombers who detonated a bomb on Friday at the gate of an army encampment in Sulu province’s Indanan town.
The other suicide attacker remains unidentified. Lasuca is the first known Filipino militant to have agreed to carry out a suicide bombing, a development that has concerned Philippine security officials. Two suicide bombings in the country’s south in recent months, also blamed on Sawadjaan, have been blamed on foreign militants by Philippine authorities. Sobejana said Lasuca left his family in Sulu’s Asturias district about five years ago and joined an Abu Sayyaf militant faction under the control of commander Hajan Sawadjaan.
Sawadjaan is an Islamic State group-aligned commander and the suspected mastermind of the suicide attacks, which killed three soldiers, two villagers and the two bombers and damaged the encampment, located in an Indanan community, officials said. “This is really very tragic for Lasuca’s family, his mother. They saw him last five years ago and this is the first time they’re only seeing him again,” Sobejana said, adding the family has claimed the severed head of the militant and buried it.
Poverty and a lack of education may have driven Lasuca to the Abu Sayyaf, which lures recruits with money and guns, he said. There were confl icting accounts of the attack. Military officials said earlier that Lasuca managed to dash into the camp after the first militant was stopped at the army camp’s gate by soldiers. The first militant detonated his bomb, killing three soldiers at the gate.