TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Three members of an extremist group have been arrested for a bombing in the home town of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte last month that left 15 people dead, authorities said Friday.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the detained men belonged to a local gang in the southern Philippines, which carried out the attack partly to raise its profile with the Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorist group.
"They are trying to get the attention of ISIS to recognize them that's why they were trying to record (the bombing on video) for propaganda for international release," Lorenzana was quoted by AFP as saying.
In past fighting with troops, the group's members were seen carrying Daesh’s black flags and bandanas bearing the militants' insignia were found in their base, the military said.
The blast, which tore through a bustling market in the heart of the southern city of Davao, Duterte's home town, led the president to impose a "state of national emergency" that led to tighter security measures.
Lorenzana said the three suspects were arrested Tuesday at a checkpoint in Cotabato city, a four-hour drive from Davao. Police and soldiers recovered firearms and materials for an improvised explosive device.
Seven other members of the group were involved in the bombing, and security officials were pursuing them, Lorenzana added.
The Maute group has carried out kidnappings and bombings and is believed to have led an attack on an army outpost in the Mindanao town of Butig in February.
The Maute group also staged a daring jailbreak in Marawi City in Mindanao last month, freeing 23 of their detained members.