Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Sayyafs attack farmers, killed 1 in Sulu

SULU – Abu Sayyaf gunmen attacked a group of farmers and killed one person in the southern Philippine province of Sulu where local leaders and civilians declared the terrorists as persona non grata.

A military photo released to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner shows the body of the slain paramilitary man. 

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command, confirmed the attack and said the lone casualty was also a member of the paramilitary group called Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) in Patikul town’s Igasan village.

He said the Monday attack killed Tali Lakibul and that villagers denounced the attack.

“The residents of Barangay Igasan were harvesting farm products when they were fired upon by an undetermined number of local terrorist group members,” Corleto said, quoting a report by Brig. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, commander of the 1102nd Infantry Brigade.

He said soldiers from the 6th Special Forces Battalion under Lt. Col. Rafael Caido and other BPAT members were sent to track down the militants who escaped after the attack. The body of Lakubul was also recovered by security forces and handed over to his grieving family for burial.

“Troops are conducting a hot pursuit operation to neutralize the heartless enemies,” Vinluan said.

Just last week, Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan led the signing of the so-called “Parjanjian Indanan or the “Indanan People Peace Covenant” which aims to harness the community's participation and empowerment to achieve long-lasting peace in the southern province.

Tan signed the covenant with Indanan municipal officials and witnessed by senior military and police officials led by Vinluan and Brig. Gen. Samuel Rodriguez, the regional police chief; including Brig. Gen. Bernade Balba, who heads the Special Action Force.

The governor reiterated his all-out support for the peace and development effort in the town and asked villagers to support the government efforts.

Tan also held a covenant meeting with Parang Mayor Alkhadar Loong where government officials denounced the Abu Sayyaf atrocities and propounded initiatives to strengthen and institutionalize public safety, security, and well-being in the municipality.

Vinluan and other security officials also witnessed the covenant which also empowered the religious sector to promote mutual respect and peaceful co-existence. During the signing of the covenant, local and military officials activated the Municipal Task Force in Ending Local Armed Conflict (MTF-ELAC).

“The activation of the MTF-ELAC substantially proves that the government is serious in accelerating the peace process here in Parang, Sulu. It shows that the different sectors are also working together to sustain security and normalcy in the area,” Vinluan said.

Government officials also activated the Municipal Peace Action Operations and Monitoring Center and the Islamic Religious Council of Parang to address the socio-cultural, security, and development issues and to sustain and tap the development potentials of the town.

President Rodrigo Duterte has previously sought Tan to help him talk peace, but at the same time ordered security forces to crush the Abu Sayyaf, blamed for the August twin suicide bombings in the capital town of Jolo that killed over a dozen soldiers and civilians, and left scores of innocent people injured.

“Ikaw ‘yung — I address you because ikaw ‘yung nire-respeto ko. You have a colorful life. Kung sa patay, dapat patay ka na sa dinaanan mo sa buhay, and yet you are still here around. Why don’t you try to help me within the next few months last term just to talk about peace? It need not really be a — an arrangement, just talk about peace,” Duterte told Tan during one of his recent visits in the province.

Aside from Tan, Duterte also spoke to Nur Misuari, chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front, to support the government’s peace efforts. (Mindanao Examiner)

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