4 village watchmen in killing of soldier, militiamen in Basilan surrender
ZAMBOANGA CITY—Four village watchmen who were suspected of killing a soldier and two militiamen in Basilan last week have surrendered to the military, an Army official said.
Maj. Gen. Fernando Reyeg, commander of Joint Task Force Basilan, attributed the surrender to close coordination between local officials, military and police.
The suspects are members of the Barangay Peace Action Team, or BPAT, of Bohe Lebbung village in Tipo-Tipo town.
On Friday (July 3), they attacked a group led by an Army soldier, militiamen and several civilians, killing four and wounding another four. They then fled to Sumisip town.
Reyeg said the military sought the help of the police and the Tipo-tipo town leadership to have the suspects surrender peacefully and answer for the attack.
On Sunday, the four BPAT members surrendered to the 4th Special Forces Battalion and the 18th Infantry Battalion.
Reyeg identified them as Ayatula Mohammad, 40, Saham Mohammad, 45, Lito Manisan, 45, and Kasim Manisan, 34.
Manisan is said to have a personal grudge against a soldier, Pfc Mark Anthony Monte, who is assigned to lead militiamen at Bohe Lebbung village.
Aside from Monte, two militiamen and a civilian were killed. Another two militiamen and two civilians were also wounded in the attack last Friday.
Reyeg said the village watchmen also surrendered firearms believed to have been used in the attack—an M14 rifle, an M2 Carbine and two M16 rifles all with defaced serial numbers.
The BPAT members and their firearms were turned over to the Tipo-tipo town police, headed by Lt. Thomas Cayomba Jr., for filing of charges.
“This somehow prevented the escalation of tension that may result in a long-standing rido,” Reyeg said, referring to clan war common in some parts of Mindanao.
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