BARMM slams killing of 9 Moro men in Cotabato town
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur –– The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) condemned the massacre that killed nine people near the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) main campus in Kabacan, Cotabato on Saturday afternoon.
In a text message, Mohaqer Iqbal, Minister of Education, told the Inquirer that eight men were killed on the spot while another one died in the hospital after the still unidentified perpetrators armed with high powered weapons conducted a checkpoint and held the Moro victims for a while before killing them.
He said only personnel in authority, particularly uniformed ones, could conduct a checkpoint and arm themselves with high-caliber firearms.
“Walang may kakayanang mag-checkpoint gamit ang malalaking baril maliban lamang sa PNP at AFP kasi sa Poblacion ito (No one else except for the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) can set up a checkpoint and carry high-powered firearms,” Iqbal said, referring to the gruesome incident that transpired at the USM granary shortly after noon Saturday.
“They held the victims and later, killed them,” Iqbal said, citing initial reports they got from the community, where BARMM personnel were giving aid to the families of the victims.
But an earlier report from the Kabacan police did not mention a checkpoint.
Major Peter Pinalgan Jr., Kabacan town police chief, reported that the victims, all male, were standing on the side of the Aringgay Road near the University of Southern Mindanao compound when the gunmen on a motorbike drove by and opened fire.
Lt. Ernie John Saratao, Kabacan deputy police chief for operations, identified the fatalities as Kors Salilangan, Sandigan Zailon, Benladin Dimanalao, Romeo Balatamay, Katindig Kagayawon, and Fahad Mandigan, all residents of Kabacan town; Budsal Lipusan of Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao; and Musaid Jaiden of Midsayap town in Cotabato province.
Police suspect that a rido or family feud triggered the shooting. —with a report from Taher Solaiman
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