2 soldiers mutilated by Umbra Kato’s men; 1 abducted, still missingBy Donna Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Moro rebels who attacked five military outposts in Maguindanao and North Cotabato on Monday have brutally killed two off-duty soldiers and two civilians, the Philippine Army said.
The mutilated bodies of Private First Class Dunhill Aragon and Henry Caunga were found by troops along the Isulan-Cotabato highway in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao late Monday afternoon.
The Army condemned the summary executions perpetrated by followers of Ameril Umbra Kato, a former commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front who has formed his own group, which he calls the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
“The face of one soldier was mangled beyond recognition before he was shot in the head. The other had torture marks all over his body including hack wounds. It was a horrible crime committed by heartless individuals,” reported Lt. Col. Kit Teofilo, who as commander of the 68th Infantry Battalion was the immediate superior of the two slain soldiers.
He said the bodies of two men were also recovered along with those of the two soldiers.
Teofilo said the two soldiers were on board a motorcycle traveling to Cotabato City to withdraw money when they were stopped by heavily armed men after they have passed Shariff Aguak town.
The two were declared missing when they did not reach their destination on Monday morning.
A third soldier who was also abducted by rebels identified with BIFF remains missing.
Sergeant Sonny Estabillo of the 38th Infantry Battalion was reportedly also traveling to Cotabato City when he was abducted by the rebels.
The Army said troops are combing the outskirts of Datu Unsay and Datu Saudi Ampatuan towns to find the missing soldier.
Sporadic gunfire still occurs in some areas where Kato’s men are terrorizing people and sniping against dismounted troops.
The cadavers were brought to Piad Funeral Homes in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat.
On Monday the Army reported that two rebels were killed in the fighting, which lasted for hours, while a civilian was killed in the crossfire.