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Tension brews in Basilan town amid killings

/ 05:00 AM August 07, 2021

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ZAMBOANGA CITY—Tension is brewing in the town of Al Barka, Basilan province, following an ambush that killed the mayor’s nephew on Tuesday that generated a retaliation that killed another person related to the town vice mayor and injured three others.

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Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, commander of Joint Task Force Basilan, said a shooting that occurred in Sitio Manunggol, Barangay Ginanta, of Al Barka in the afternoon of Tuesday killed Amman Lajid, 27, nephew of Mayor Idarus Lajid.

Mayor Lajid claimed he was the target of the ambush, which he alleged to have been carried out by the camp of Vice Mayor Mujib Jakilan.

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Relatives angered

Lajid said the attackers failed to get him because he was in Zamboanga City that day buying construction materials.

The Inquirer repeatedly tried but failed to get the side of Jakilan.

The killing of the mayor’s nephew angered one of the mayor’s relatives who, hours after the shooting, took it upon himself to attack and kill the vice mayor’s follower, injuring three others.

The mayor’s relative, Sharwin Kasaran, was a former member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front who surrendered as Abu Sayyaf and was integrated into the municipal hall’s security force.

To prevent hostilities

Kasaran, however, was forced to leave his job in 2020 after he conducted a drug buy-bust operation against suspected drug dealers in Barangay Kuhon Lennuh, near the vice mayor’s residence, the mayor said.

The mayor also claimed that the drug buy-bust operation in 2020 had angered the vice mayor.

“We terminated Sharwin’s services (last year) because we did not want hostilities to escalate,” the mayor said, explaining that his relationship with the vice mayor started to sour after the drug buy-bust operation.

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“The vice mayor is also my relative and I was behind his entry to local politics here,” the mayor said. “The sad part is he is using politics to attack me,” he added.

But on Aug. 3, upon learning that the mayor’s nephew was killed in an ambush, Kasaran allegedly attacked the vice mayor’s camp and killed Topy Kinista, reportedly a relative and supporter of the vice mayor; and injured Alvin Jakilan, Ridwan Saharin and Saman Kasaran, according to the mayor.

Acted on his own

“Sharwin acted on his own and retaliated. This resulted in one (person) killed and three wounded,” said Lajid.

Kasaran has been subjected to a manhunt by the police since the incident, said the mayor.

According to Gobway, efforts are currently ongoing to bring the two parties to a dialogue and a possible settlement.

But Mayor Lajid said his brother was still in deep anguish over the death of his son.

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TAGS: Basilan, Killings, tension, vice mayor
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