5 slain in Zamboanga del Norte; ‘rido’ eyed
ZAMBOANGA CITY — A village official of Sirawai town in Zamboanga del Norte province was killed along with four members of his family while two others were wounded when they were ambushed on Thursday afternoon in what authorities suspected was linked to “rido” or clan war.
Police Maj. Shellamae Chang, spokesperson for the Zamboanga Peninsula regional police, said the fatalities were Alih Manangca, the village chief of Balubuan in Sirawai town, and Ani Lumiguis Manangca, Alfahad Manangca, Anisa Jaji Manangca and Shilben Musaddin Basa.
Two others onboard the vehicle were critically wounded and were rushed to the Sirawai rural health unit for medical attention. They were identified as Alwaf Basa Manangca and Norman Darus Tulino.
The police did not say what was the relationship of Alih with the other fatalities and the wounded, except that they were his “immediate family” and “in-laws.”
The ambush was suspected to have been perpetrated by Alih’s own relatives believed to have been triggered by a dispute over land ownership, according to Police Col. Glenn Dulawan, Zamboanga del Norte police director.
Dulawan told reporters on Friday that they have launched a manhunt against 10 persons who allegedly figured in the ambush.
Appeal for information
As a result of the attack, Sirawai Mayor Aljazar Janihim called for a meeting of the Municipal Peace and Order Council on Friday and appealed to all village leaders to help the police locate the suspects.
Janihim, in a social media post, said residents were gripped by fear following the incident, which he described as “the first brutal one [in the town] in a long time.”
Sirawai, located in the third congressional district of the province, is a farming town with a population of only 31,163 people based on a 2020 census. Most of the residents speak Subanen, the language of the Subanon tribe that dominates the town’s population, and Chavacano.
The mayor assured that information about the suspects would be treated with utmost confidentiality in order to not endanger the lives of the informants.
Police records, however, showed that the slain village chief was linked to the shooting incident in the town on Dec. 22, 2022, which left two people dead. Police identified the fatalities as Jarin Angsa and Ibrahim Hassan, both residents of Panabutan village of Sirawai.
Citing a report from the Sirawai police, Chang said Alih and his family were traveling aboard a Toyota Hilux vehicle, with plate number TBI 268, when they were attacked by unidentified men in Barangay Piña at 3:15 p.m.
The police said the attackers sprayed Alih’s vehicle with bullets and then fled.
Chang said a pursuit operation was being conducted by the town police in cooperation with the Police Regional Mobile Force Battalion and the Army’s 42nd Infantry Battalion.
—WITH A REPORT FROM RYAN D. ROSAURO
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