JOLO, Philippines –At least four people were killed and 23 others wounded in a grenade attack in the southern Philippines that appears to be unrelated to terrorism, officials said Sunday.
Army Col. Cirilito Sobejana said the attacker was arrested following the late Saturday grenade blast in Busbus village near the domestic airport in Sulu province’s Jolo town.
The motive for the attack wasn’t immediately clear, but a military officer said the attacker, who was identified by police as Sedimar Rabbah, returned to the area to retaliate after being beaten by a group of men who accused him of stealing a cellphone. Police, however, were checking if he has links with Abu Sayyaf militants.
Aside from kidnappings for ransom, bombings and killings by Abu Sayyaf extremists, predominantly Muslim Sulu has long been troubled by a large number of illegal guns and other weapons, many in the hands of warlords and other armed groups.
Jungle-clad Sulu, about 950 kilometres (590 miles) south of Manila, is one of the country’s poorest provinces, although it has rich resources and pristine beaches and islands.