Basilan mayor seeks safe return of residents who fled bombing
ZAMBOANGA CITY — The mayor of Mohammad Ajul town in Basilan province has sought security assurance from government troops and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) so that some 200 families who fled Seronggon village can return to their homes.
Mayor Ibrahim Ballaho said the families evacuated to nearby villages and even as far as Lamitan City on Jan. 12 as government forces stormed their village around 5 a.m.
“Pregnant women, children and the elderly fled for safety, many went to Lamitan City. I really pity them. Many were hungry, it was dawn, they didn’t even take their breakfast,” he said.
Col. Domingo Gobway, commander of the Army’s Joint Task Force Basilan, confirmed there were “strike operations against the members of the Abu Sayyaf group” on Jan. 12 in Seronggon.
While the soldiers were en route to the area, Gobway said they were fired upon by unknown gunmen, prompting them to request for artillery fires. Except for the howitzers, the soldiers did not fire a single shot, Gobway added.
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