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NBI, SITG looking at body parts, new angle in Jolo blast probe


Investigators into the twin bombing of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo picked up a new lead based on the testimony of a witness who claimed to see a suspicious woman enter the church with a backpack.

The special investigation task group is also verifying whether some of the body parts recovered from one part of the blast site belong to the a single person who may have been a suicide bomber.

According to GMA News' Emil Sumangil' in his report for "24 Oras" on Thursday, a survivor said that he saw a woman walking down the center aisle with a backpack at 8:10 a.m. Sunday morning shortly before the first explosion.

The witness said this woman was acting suspiciously and was nowhere to be seen after the blast.

Investigators on Wednesday also recovered a clump of hair, a portion of a spinal column and parts of cranial nerves in the cathedral's second floor where the choir sang.

They are now verifying whether or not the body parts, which were found close together, belonged to one person as they continue to consider the involvement of a suicide bomber.

Moises Tamayo, chief of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Western Mindanao Regional Office, said the NBI agents were confident they could reconstruct the blast site and gather additional information on the blast.

"The intel received before, should complement what we are doing now. Kailangan namin 'yon to reconstruct, para malaman ng EOD kung ano kalaki at ano 'yung ginamit niyan," Tamayo said.

The NBI's regional office conducted a walk through of their post-blast investigation with the agency's NCR-based counter-terrorism.

"Che-check-in diyan 'yung authorship ng bomb. Kung sino gumawa niyan, etcetera, ire-relate 'yan ng ating bomb data center, kung meyroon similar bomb na may same magnitude or effect," Tamayo said.

The gruesome attack that occurred during Sunday mass killed at least 22 people and injured almost 100.

Tamayo described the extent of damage that the twin blasts left on the religious structure.

"As you see it, itong altar side, konti ang damage pero from left to right o right to left, ang devastation dito, tingnan niyo naman. It shows tell-tale signs kung ano ang nangyari diyan," Tamayo said. —Margaret Claire Layug/NB, GMA News

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