West Mindanao Army command seeks probe of killing by cops of 4 soldiers in Jolo
ZAMBOANGA CITY—The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) is calling for an impartial investigation of the death of four soldiers in the hands of policemen in Jolo, Sulu.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Westmincom commander, has asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the killing of four soldiers by police some 50 meters from the Jolo municipal police station on Marina Street, Jolo.
“We ask the NBI to investigate and uphold impartiality,” Sobejana said.
In a phone interview, Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, head of the anti-terror Joint Task Force Sulu, said four soldiers, all members of the intelligence unit, were on board a Montero SUV when flagged down by police at a checkpoint along Marina Street, Jolo town at 2:30 p.m. on Monday (June 29).
Security camera footage, supported by eyewitness accounts, showed four to six policemen stopped the soldiers at the checkpoint and gestured at them to proceed to the Jolo police station.
But 50 meters from the station, a soldier alighted from the SUV and “he was shot by cops,” said Vinluan. “Then they shot three others inside the car,” he added.
Vinluan said the shooting was not part of any anti-drug operation by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). “No PDEA agents were involved and the cops behind the shooting are currently under investigation,” he said.
He also urged soldiers to stay calm.
“We call on our troops to stay calm and allow the investigation to proceed,” Vinluan said.
“We need to get into the core of this matter,” he said.
He added that the Army could find no motive yet for the shooting by police of the four soldiers.
Vinluan also appealed to residents of Sulu to refrain from spreading false information, including those which referred to the killings as part of a drug raid.
“It’s not true. We leave this matter to an independent investigation team,” he said.
One of the slain soldiers was a native of Jolo while the three others were from another place. Vinluan begged off releasing their identities until after their families were notified.
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