DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/06 August) – The US Ambassador to Manila has reset his scheduled travel here today due to the bombing incident at the Zamboanga City International Airport early Thursday evening that left two persons dead, including the suspected bomber.
Sulu Governor Sakur Tan, who sustained some injuries, claimed he may have been the target of the bombing.
The United States embassy immediately condemned the bombing.
“I deplore this heinous crime that victimized ordinary travelers. Our condolences to the innocent deceased and wounded victims of this brutal attack,” US Ambassador Harry Thomas, Jr., said in a press statement sent through SMS by Karen Schinnerer, Deputy Press Attaché of the US Embassy Manila Public Affairs Section …
He expressed admiration for authorities in Zamboanga City and the Philippine National Police “who moved swiftly to aid persons wounded by the blast.”
Thomas said he had looked forward to visiting Zamboanga City today but “knowing that the PNP is working hard to investigate this tragic incident, and understanding that my visit would require a great deal of security support, I have decided to postpone my travel … in order to avoid distracting the PNP from their most urgent task – investigating this heinous attack.”
Thomas was supposed to visit Zamboanga for the joint effort to prevent trafficking in persons “and our collaboration in the fight against tuberculosis.”
“I look forward to traveling to Zamboanga soon, to reiterate our support on these vital issues and, I hope, to congratulate authorities on a successful investigation of this awful crime.”
The press statement said the US “stands ready to offer any assistance requested by Philippine authorities so that those responsible may swiftly be brought to justice. The US stands with the Filipino people, who work every day to enhance their peace and security.”
US military forces returned to the country in 2002 through the RP-US Balikatan which was supposed to have ended in July 2002. Some American troops were left behind purportedly to do humanitarian work.
Until today, an undetermined number of US troops are in the country on a rotation basis. (MindaNews)