MANILA, Philippines (AP) — 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 Islamic State 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 U.S. and the Philippines as a terrorist organization.