Bangsamoro Region

Moro leaders condemn killing of 2 children, wounding 14 others by shelling

Bangsamoro chief minister Alhaj Murad Ebrahim. (File)

MARAWI CITY: Bangsamoro leaders have condemned in strongest terms the mortar shelling by the Armed Forces on Sunday in Datu Saudi Ampatuan municipality in Maguindanao province that resulted to the tragic death of two children siblings and wounding of their mother and several others.

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) chief minister Alhaj Murad Ebrahim as he condemned the incident said in a statement, “This violence committed against hapless civilians is totally inhumane and evil, occurring as it did on what is supposed to be a festive day of Eid’l Fitr. It also compounds the present difficulties of our people as they struggle through with the COVID-19 pandemic. Only the heartless criminals can commit such a wicked act.”

Ebrahim said, “We call on the law enforcement agencies in Maguindanao, especially the Police Provincial Office and the 6th Infantry Division (Kampilan) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to conduct an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation of this tragedy and bring into the bar of justice those who are responsible, no matter who they are or affiliated to. This gruesome crime must not be let to pass into an unsolved incident.”

Ebrahim also urged the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission to initiate its own investigation.

“The Bangsamoro Government shall do everything possible in securing justice for the victims of this senseless tragedy,” he pointed out.

BARMM Executive Secretary Abdulraof Macacua said it is too difficult and painful to accept the death of innocent minors whose death came from mortar shelling committed by people who know very well what they are doing.

“Especially when their tragic death and the wounding of others happened on Eid’l Fitr which is one of the two important days of Islam celebrated by the entire Muslims around the globe, and at a time that everybody wishes all people should be saved from the pandemic Covid-19,” Macacua lamented.

“Despite the efforts of the President to protect its citizenry from this covid19, there are still sectors of our society who disregard the value and importance of life,” he said.

Macacua regretted that the tragic incident happened amid the desire for a lasting peace in the region by implementing all agreements signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“We have these agreements on cessation of hostilities, on dealing with other armed groups, and on coordination. Incident like this would have been avoided if all these protocols have been followed,” he said.

“The most sad part of the incident is that we are about to commence the next decommissioning of our combatants and I hope that this will not cause as hindrance to the next process,” Macacua pointed out.

Maranao federalist leader Bayan Goling Balt said, “It is unfortunate that despite the peace agreements between the GPH and the MILF and the signing into law of the “BOL”, violence still flare up in Muslim areas. This may be due to the non-observance of the mechanisms built in the peace agreement.”

Balt, head of Maranao federal state movement and former Lanao del Sur chapter president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), said,  “We reiterate our call to the military to exercise prudent in the conduct of military operation, sparing innocent civilians with due regards to the peace agreement.”

He also urged the MILF to adhere to its obligation under the peace agreement to prevent violence so that our people can enjoy the dividend of peace.

The fatalities were identified as Aslamiya and Asnaida Tambak, both female, whose ages were 10 and 7 years old, respectively.

Wounded are Noraisa Tambak, 40, mother of the Aslamiya and Asnaida; Norsaid Tambak, 5, male;  Badria Ebus, 35, female; Saud Ebus, 7, male; Aida Kembeg, 35, female; Tata Kembeg, 30, female; Najima Pua (PWD), 16, female; Jepu Pua, 15, female; Muslima Tambak, 40, female; Mati Ali, 45, male; Mia Elian, 20, female; Salonga Marcos, 20, male; and Halid Dagedeban, 21, male.

MASIDING NOOR YAHYA

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