Palace slams ‘ruthless’, ‘godless’ perpetrators in Zamboanga blast

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2019 02:03 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2019 11:30 AM

Belongings are seen inside a masjid or mosque in Barangay Talon-talon, Zamboanga City on January 30, 2019, after a grenade attack. Agence France-Presse

MANILA - Malacañang on Wednesday slammed the perpetrators in the grenade attack on a mosque in Zamboanga City that left 2 people dead and 4 others injured, as it vowed to unleash its might to go after them.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo lamented that the bombing took place even as the region is still recovering from the twin blasts that hit a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu last Sunday.

“Terrorism has once again reared its barbaric and ugly head by unleashing another bomb in a mosque in Zamboanga killing at least two Muslim religious followers and injuring four others,” Panelo said in a statement.

“The successive attacks on two different places of worship depict the ruthlessness and the godlessness of these mass murderers.”

Panelo described the latest attack as “a taunting challenge to the capability of the government to secure the safety of the inhabitants in Mindanao.”

He assured that the military will unleash its might against enemies of the state and “hunt them ferociously and relentlessly until the law rolls down its guillotine on them.”

The Wednesday midnight blast was the second to hit southwestern Mindanao in 4 days. On Sunday, twin explosions rocked a Catholic church in Jolo island, leaving 21 people killed and 100 others hurt. Authorities have yet to determine whether the two incidents are related.

Two unidentified men lobbed a grenade into the mosque in Sitio Logoy Diutay, Barangay Talon-talon past 12 a.m., said Col. Leonel Nicolas, commander of Joint Task Force Zamboanga. 

The victims, most of whom were Muslim religious leaders from Basilan and nearby provinces, were sleeping when the explosion occurred, said Senior Supt. Thomas Joseph Martir, director of the Zamboanga City police. 

The group visited Zamboanga City to teach Islam to children, a survivor told ABS-CBN News. 

Panelo said despite the recent attacks in the region, Mindanaoans “will not be cowed nor intimidated even as they go about their daily activities.”

“The quest for peace and progress by the Bangsamoro people will not be stalled by any obstacle thrown at their path. The movement to change the face of Mindanao and the oppressive conditions affecting its people shall move forward despite these acts of terrorism,” he said.

“We assure those who live and sojourn in that part of the region that the government will secure their safety and provide them with whatever support they need with dispatch and sufficiency.”