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Jakarta wants clarification on alleged Indonesian couple’s link to Jolo blasts

MANILA – The Indonesian government is seeking clarification from Philippine officials after its citizens were linked to the deadly church bombing in Jolo, Sulu, a local news website said.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has spoken with her counterpart, Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr, and Philippine Interior Secretary Eduardo Año after claims that Indonesian citizens were the perpetrators of the bombing, according to a report by Indonesian-language news site BeritaSatu. It quoted Arrmanatha Nasir, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry has not yet received further clarification because there has been no recent developments in the investigation as of publishing time, which was Thursday afternoon.

Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines, Sinyo Harry Sarundajang, also said the Embassy would send a note verbale asking for clarification from the Philippine government and expressing objections to the lack of notification of alleged involvement in the event of an attack on Jolo, the report said.

Philippine authorities said the suicide bombers who set off the explosion in Jolo were likely Indonesians because the witnesses said they did not speak the local language of Tausug.

A bomb that went off inside the church during the Eucharistic celebration was followed by another explosion outside after troops descended to the area. Twenty-three were killed in the incident and 95 others were wounded, according to the police’s count as of Monday.

Five suspects behind the twin explosions surrendered to authorities last weekend and are now in police custody.