Also remember the 23 Moros who died in Mamasapano – Moro leader
DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — A Moro leader appealed to the public to remember not only the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who died in a botched operation in Mamasapano town eight years ago but also the 18 former Moro combatants and five civilians who also lost their lives to the tragic incident.
Drieza Lininding, chair of the Moro Consensus Group, said it was not only the SAF 44 who lost their lives in Mamasapano town of Maguindanao in a botched operation against the Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan on Jan. 25, 2015, but also the 23 Moro people who got killed during the ensuing shootout.
“We should not forget the (child) Sarah Panangulon who died when their house was strafed, wounding her parents,” Lininding said in a message he posted on his Facebook page. “Let’s not forget Badruddin Langalang, a farmer who went out of the house to have his cellular phone charged but was not able to return home, his body later found riddled with bullets.”
Langalang, 18, left his house at 4 a.m. on Jan. 25 to charge his phone in the town proper of Tukanalipao when he chanced upon the blocking force of the SAF, according to the Moro human rights group Kawagib who entered the area as part of a fact-finding team after the incident. Langalang’s body — with his feet and hands bound — was later found riddled with bullets.
The eight-year-old girl Sarah Pananggulon was sleeping with her parents in Sitio Inugog, when armed men residents identified as SAF commandos started shooting in the direction of their house, killing the girl and wounding her parents Samrah Sampulna and Pananggulon Mamasalaga.
Lininding said that Badruddin, whose body was found tied and riddled with bullets, left two children orphaned. Badruddin’s widow, Sarah Langalang, was forced to work as a domestic helper in Oman to raise her two children. “What a pain they suffered,” Lininding said.
“Let’s not forget Omar Dagadas, Ali Esmail, Musib Hasim, and Rasul Zukarnin who were killed inside the mosque by SAF commando survivor Christopher Lalang. The four were already asleep because they thought that the firefight was over after a ceasefire had been declared. But still, they were killed, what happened to their bodies was beyond description because they were shot at a very close range,” Lininding said, referring to the four MILF members in the area.
He told the Inquirer by phone that he decided to post his appeal on social media because people tended to blame the death of the SAF 44 on the Moro community, overlooking the fact that the Moro people also lost their loved ones during the botched operation.
“The incident seems to generate hatred towards Muslims. I posted the appeal to inform [those who did not know] that the Moro people also lost innocent lives to this incident,” he told the Inquirer by phone.
He said that it seemed people only remember the SAF 44 when they commemorate the Mamasapano tragedy each year.
“They [the 23 Moro people who died] were also humans,” Lininding said.
He told the Moro people in Filipino: “Even if we know that the Bangsamoro people are not treated as equal by Filipinos, if they are not remembered, we, the Moro people, should not forget them. Let’s pray that their families would obtain justice and we pray that we will finally attain justice and peace in our land in the Bangsamoro.”
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