MANILA (Xinhua) – Philippine military authorities have taken custody of four people, including two teenagers, caught on surveillance camera shortly after Sunday’s twin blasts that hit a cathedral in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, a military spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Col Gerry Besana, the spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command, said the four turned themselves in to the authorities on Wednesday to clear their names.
Authorities tagged the four as possible suspects in the blasts that killed 21 people and injured more than 100 others.
“They decided to come out purposely to clear their names for fear that they might be hunted down by the authorities,” Col Besana said.
The military and the police alleged that the four are members of the so-called Ajang-Ajang group, a faction of the Abu Sayyaf group whose members were mostly sons of killed Abu Sayyaf militants.
“They are considered as POIs (persons of interest), not suspects,” Col Besana said.
“If they come out clean, then good enough. Our manhunt operation against the suspects is continuing,” he added.
Col Besana also said that Philippine security forces killed on Tuesday Ommal Usop, also an alleged member of the Ajang-Ajang group, in an operation to hunt Mr Kamah, the alleged mastermind of the blasts.
Soldiers and police swooped on Mr Kamah’s house in Latih village, Patikul town in Sulu province about 5.40 pm local time.
Col Besana said Mr Usop fired at the forces triggering a gunfight that resulted in his death.
Col Besana said Mr Kamah, however, eluded arrest.