7 young Tausug men killed by military not Abu Sayyaf bandits – relative
Updated @ 11:18 p.m., Sept. 15, 2018
ZAMBOANGA CITY — Seven young men including a minor who sought permission from the 55th Infantry Battalion to harvest their fruit trees at Sitio Bato, Barangay Kabuntakas, Patikul town in Sulu on Friday morning were recovered riddled with bullets on Saturday morning at the headquarters of the Joint Task Force Sulu in Jolo, Sulu.
Mahmur Arula, a relative of the seven victims, told the Inquirer that his cousins Makrub Diray, 25; Alpadal Diray, 16; Mijar Hairan and Basiluddin Hairani, 30; Issah Hamsan, 21; Benajal Tula and Maknun Sakirin, 22; sought permission from the 55th Infantry Battalion which stationed in Barangay Issan in Patikul, to harvest lanzones and durian.
At 9:00 a.m, on Sept. 14, the seven men were able to secure a permit to their farmland in Sitio Tubig Bato in Barangay Kabuntakas in Patikul.
But on their way to the farmland, at around 11:00 a.m. scout rangers from the 32nd Infantry Battalion arrested them.
There were three young witnesses at that time.
The following day, at around 11:00 a.m., their bodies were recovered by the relatives from Joint Task Force Sulu headquarters.
“They were not terrorists,” Arula said. “They were just trying to earn a living by harvesting their own trees inside that area.”
The Suara Bangsamoro condemned the massacre of seven victims by the military.
Jerome Aladdin Succor Aba, chair of the Suara Bangsamoro said the killing of innocent civilians was “an act of terror against the public perpetrated by the government under Duterte’s Martial Law in Mindanao.”
“We are enraged by the string of senseless killings and massacres against the Bangsamoro people in Sulu,” Aba said.
But the military insisted that the seven slain civilians were members of the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Col. Gerry Besana, public affairs officer of the Western Mindanao Command, said there was a “legitimate” encounter between the Task Group Panther under Lt. Col. Samuel Yunque and Capt. Michael Asistores of the Scout Rangers and more than 100 Abu Sayyaf under Radulan Sahiron on Friday around 1:30 pm.
Besana said 17 soldiers were wounded in the clash.
The military reported that seven Abu Sayyaf fighters were killed and another six were wounded, including Abu Sayyaf sub leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan. –With a report from Mart Sambalud
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