Suicide bomber dies in Philippines; no other casualties

Police line up for a flag-raising ceremony outside a station in Quezon City Police District in Manila in April. (Reuters)
Updated 08 September 2019

Suicide bomber dies in Philippines; no other casualties

  • The suicide attacker tried but failed to enter a detachment in Sulu province’s Indanan town and died

MANILA: A militant wearing a traditional black Muslim woman’s gown was killed in a suicide bombing attack Sunday on a military detachment in the southern Philippines that failed to inflict any other deaths or injuries, officials said.
The suicide attacker tried but failed to enter a detachment in Sulu province’s Indanan town and died when a bomb the militant was carrying exploded, officials said. It was the third known suicide attack in Sulu this year.
Regional military chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the bomber failed to enter the detachment due to tight security. The militant had long hair and wore a black Muslim gown but a hand severed in the explosion appeared to be too large for a woman, Sobejana said in a statement.
“The suicide bomber was ... foreign looking with long hair based on the recovered mutilated head, however, the recovered dismembered hand is similar to that of a man,” Sobejana said.
A military spokesman in Sulu, Lt. Col. Gerard Monfort, said by phone that troops took cover and assumed combat positions, some behind sand bags, when the militant refused to step away from the outpost’s gate and carried something that bulged in the bomber’s gown.
“A wary soldier yelled at the militant to ‘Don’t enter, go away, go away’ and other soldiers who heard him took cover and assumed combat positions,” Monfort said. “Then an explosion killed the militant.”
The blast damaged the detachment’s gate but did not cause any other deaths or injuries, Monfort said, adding that there were no civilians in the rural area at the time.
A device that was apparently used to trigger the explosion was recovered from the scene, which has been cordoned off and was being examined by bomb experts and police investigators, Sobejana said.
It was the third known suicide bombing this year by militants linked to the Daesh group in Sulu, including a deadly Jan. 27 bombing by an Indonesian militant couple in a Roman Catholic cathedral in the predominantly Muslim province.
In July, two suicide attackers separately detonated explosives in another military encampment in Indanan, killing the two militants. Authorities later confirmed through DNA tests of the remains of the attackers that one was a Filipino, the first known local militant to carry out a suicide attack.
All the suicide attacks, including Sunday’s explosion, sparked security alarms and were blamed by the military on the Abu Sayyaf, a small but brutal group that has been the target of ongoing military offensives. The Abu Sayyaf has been blacklisted by the US and the Philippines as a terrorist organization.


UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

Updated 15 September 2019

UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

  • Johnson said he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what
  • “The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the Mail

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared himself to The Incredible Hulk in a newspaper interview emphasizing his determination to take Britain out of the European Union next month.
Johnson faces considerable legal and political hurdles but told the Mail on Sunday he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what.
“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the widely read tabloid, invoking the comic book and film character known for formidable but destructive strength.
Johnson remains defiant even though Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension to the deadline if no deal is reached by mid-October. He has also lost his working majority in Parliament and been told by Scotland’s highest court that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal.
Johnson portrays himself as more convinced than ever that Britain will break with the EU at the end of October.
He will have a lunchtime meeting in Luxembourg on Monday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to try to modify the Irish backstop that has been a main sticking point, but EU leaders did not seem impressed by Johnson’s invocation of the Hulk.
The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said the comments showed a lack of maturity.
“Even to Trumpian standards the Hulk comparison is infantile,” he tweeted. “Is the EU supposed to be scared by this? The British public impressed?“
Juncker, who has downplayed hopes of a breakthrough at Monday’s meeting, also expressed alarm that many people in Britain seem to feel a British departure without a deal with the EU would be a positive thing.
“It would be terrible chaos,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio. “And we would need years to put things back in order. Anyone who loves his country, and I assume that there are still patriots in Britain, would not want to wish his country such a fate.”
The Oct. 31 deadline looms large because Johnson has not said he will seek another extension if no deal is reached, despite legislation passed by Parliament shortly before it was suspended.
Britain’s Supreme Court this week will rule on whether Johnson overstepped the law when he shut the legislature for a crucial five-week period.
The Liberal Democrats, who have been enjoying a revival, voted overwhelmingly at their party conference Sunday to end the Brexit process entirely if they come to power.
Party leader Jo Swinson said Article 50, which triggered Brexit, would be revoked if she becomes prime minister.
The party gained an important member Saturday with the defection of Sam Gyimah, a former Conservative minister. He is the sixth legislator to switch allegiance and join the Liberal Democrats this year.
Johnson also continues to take flak from former Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the 2016 referendum on Brexit.
Cameron said in an interview published Sunday that Johnson didn’t really believe in Brexit when he broke ranks and led the campaign to take Britain out of the EU. Cameron had been expecting Johnson’s help during the hard-fought campaign.
Cameron says of Johnson: “The conclusion I am left with is that he risked an outcome he didn’t believe in because it would help his political career.”
Cameron is giving interviews to gain publicity for his upcoming memoirs.