2 militiamen killed, 6 injured in Basilan ambush-A A +A
Friday, September 21, 2012
MANILA -- Two government militiamen were killed while six others were injured, including a rubber plantation worker, in an ambush staged by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits at a remote village in Basilan Thursday afternoon, military said Friday.
Captain Albert Caber, spokesman of the Army's 1st Infantry Division, said the victims were aboard motorcycles when they were waylaid by the bandits at the vicinity of Sitio Buhi Manican in Sapah Bulah village around 4:20 p.m.
Caber said the perpetrators were led by one Ahmad Aliman, Umair Wakil, Akbar Tampuri and Madi Umangkat.
Quoting 104th Brigade commander, Colonel Carlito Galvez, Caber said the victims attended a dialogue with concerned non-government organizations, religious sectors, and officials of the Cooperative Development Authority and were on their way home when they were ambushed.
Caber said the dialogue was meant "to fix issues and concerns" of the Tumahabong Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Integrated and Development Cooperative where the victims are affiliated.
The ambushed militiamen were trained by the military but are receiving their pay from the cooperative. The militiamen, whose primary duty is to secure the cooperative, are supervised by the military.
The Abu Sayyaf has been trying to extort money from the cooperative, which however refuse to give in. The group had launched a number of attacks against the cooperative workers and its militiamen over the past months, including a July 11 ambuscade that left five workers and a militiaman dead and 20 others injured.
Caber said troops from the Army's 64th Infantry Battalion and local policemen have been deployed to conduct pursuit operations against the perpetrators.
Caber said 1st ID commander Major Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz has given instructions to Army forces in the area to collaborate with the local police to apprehend the perpetrators.
"I am saddened by the death of the civilians and unarmed (militiamen). We will ensure that all mandated tasks will be performed while ensuring human rights, rule of law and laws of armed conflict," Caber quoted Cruz as saying. (VR/Sunnex)