By Francis Wakefield
The commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Join Task Force (AFP-JTF) Zamboanga emphasized that the grenade-throwing incident that took place in Zamboanga City in the wee hours of Wednesday, was not a retaliatory act for the two explosions that took place at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Walled City, Jolo, Sulu on Sunday.
Join Task Force Zamboanga Commander Col. Leonel M. Nicolas made the assurance after a grenade was thrown by a still unidentified person inside the Kamahaldikaan Mosque in Sitio Logoy Diutay, Barangay Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City.
He said, based on an initial report, the explosion resulted in the deaths of two persons and wounding of four others.
“The incident is under investigation. We are assisting the wounded at the Zamboanga City Medical Center,” Nicolas said.
Nicolas said troops from the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) immediately cordoned off the blast site.
Declared dead upon-arrival at the Zamboanga City Medical Center were identified as Haj Sattal Bato and Rex Habil, both 46 years old.
The wounded victims were identified as Palson Asgali, 46; Alnizcar Sabbaha, 41; Jikilani Albani, 67; and Amidz Kassara, 30.
The victims are members of a tabligh contingent from Basilan, who have been in the mosque since Monday, January 28.
Meanwhile, AFP Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) Chief Lt. Gen. Arnel B. Dela Vega called on the public not to draw any speculation and spread fake news in social media on the explosion in Sulu.
“It will just result to further distress,” Dela Vega said.
“I personally seek for your prayers for the eternal repose of those who were killed in the incident and for fast recovery of those who are currently recuperating at the hospital. I also call for unity, let us not be divided by the recent incidents instead, let us work as one for the perpetrators to be immediately identified and neutralized,” he concluded.