Crime & Justice

Philippine president blames ‘foreign terrorists’ for Sunday mass attack

Bangkok, Dec 3 (EFE).- Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos said extremists were to blame for carrying out an attack with explosives Sunday during a Catholic mass that left at least four dead and 42 injured at a university in the country’s south.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the senseless and most heinous acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists upon the Mindanao State University and Marawi communities early this Sunday morning,” the president wrote on X (formerly Twitter.)

He did not provide the nationality or affiliation to the armed group of the alleged attackers, while the police investigated the scene of the incident to find its perpetrator.

“Extremists who wield violence against the innocent will always be regarded as enemies to our society. I extend my most heartfelt condolences to the victims…” Marcos wrote, adding that he has asked to increase security in the region.

“Rest assured we will bring the perpetrators of this ruthless act to justice,” the president said.

The explosion occurred at about 7am local time (GMT +8) in a space at the University of Mindanao where a religious event was being held, attended by dozens of people.

The University of Mindanao is “deeply saddened and shocked by the act of violence that occurred during a religious gathering,” he said in a statement on Facebook.

“We unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms condemn this horrible and senseless act,” it said stressed when announcing the suspension of classes until further notice.

In 2017, Marawi was the scene of a bloody confrontation after Jihadist groups related to the Islamic State partially took over the city, where they entered with extremist flags and standards.

For five months, the Philippine Army fought street by street with the extremists until they liberated the city, in a battle where more than 1,200 people died – 978 jihadists, 168 soldiers and 87 civilians.

With nearly 20 percent of the Muslim population, the southern island of Mindanao has been the scene of conflicts between the government and various extremist groups for decades, including the jihadist organization Abu Sayaf and the Maute Group, both affiliated with the Islamic State.

The explosion in Marawi occurred two days after 11 suspected members of the Dawlah Islamiyah terrorist group and its leader were killed in military operations in a mountainous area of Maguindanao del Sur province in southwestern Mindanao. EFE

nc/lds

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