UPDATE: According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Abu Sayyaf has denied reports that it was behind the deadly explosion on Friday, saying that it had been executed by its ally Daulat Ul Islamiya instead.
In a phone call to the daily, Abu Rami, a spokesperson for the group, said: “They are doing this to sympathize (with) our group and we are sending a message to President Rodrigo Duterte that all the Daulat throughout the country is not afraid of him.”
Earlier, it was reported that militant group Abu Sayyaf had said it was behind the blast at a night market in Davao City on Friday night, which left 14 dead and over 70 injured.
Abu Rami was quoted saying that the attack was a “call for unity to all mujahideen in the country” in response to the government’s military operations against them.
He also warned of further attacks in the coming days, reported local news network ABS-CBN.
It was reported that the authorities were aware of intel mentioning an imminent attack.
Philippine soldier keeps watch at a blast site at a night market that has left several people dead and wounded others in southern Davao City, Philippines on Friday, September 2, 2016. AP photo
Following the shocking blast, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared “a state of lawless violence”.
“These are extraordinary times. We are trying to cope up with a crisis now. There seems to be an environment of lawlessness. I just might declare a state of lawless violence in this country,” Duterte told reporters after meeting security officials early Saturday.
He said he was not calling for martial law, nor would he suspend the writ of habeas corpus, but has authorized the police and military to search cars and frisk people at checkpoints, reported the official Philippines News Agency.
DavaoCity Government @DavaoCityGov
Let us pray for the victims of this unfortunate incident, especially for those who died. Let us pray for those… http://fb.me/81sFTz8lh
“It’s not martial law but I am inviting now the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the military and the police to run the country in accordance with my specifications,” said Duterte.
He called on citizens to cooperate and be vigilant, adding that any action taken by security forces would be “in furtherance to stop terrorism”.
Davao City has been put on lockdown, while other major cities are under full or heightened alert.
The blast, which was the fifth bombing to have taken place in the city, shook a popular night market on Roxas Avenue at around 10pm. Up to 10 people were reported to have died on the scene.
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