3 village execs slain in separate gun attacks in BARMM, Socsksargen
AMPATUAN, MAGUINDANAO — While the police were on heightened alert amid Oplan Semana Santa and Oplan Summer Vacation, two barangay captains and a barangay kagawad were killed in separate gun attacks over the weekend in Region 12 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Tonesa Sarudin, a barangay chair of Mindupok, Maitum town of Sarangani province was shot by motorcycle–riding gunmen along a roadside fronting their barangay hall on Easter Sunday, April 9, the police said.
Colonel Nicomedes Olaivar Jr, Sarangani provincial police director, said Sarudin, 55, was walking beside the national highway at 9:55 a.m. when unidentified gunmen arrived and opened fire. She suffered a gunshot wound on her head and died instantly.
Two hours later, another village official was gunned down in Parang, Maguindanao del Norte, one of the provinces comprising BARMM.
Abdulmalik Uban, 50, village councilor of Polloc in Ampatuan town, died instantly while his wife Salma Uban, 48, later died at the hospital after two men shot them along Rizal Avenue, Parang public market in Barangay Poblacion 2, according to Major Christopher Cabugwang, Parang police chief.
The police have organized a Special Investigation Task Force to investigate the killings and identify the suspects.
Cabugwang said Uban and his wife just arrived at the public market on board a red Toyota Vios when two men approached them and opened fire.
Uban won the elections as village councilor with the second highest number of votes. He moved to the spot of the number one councilor after the latter took over the post of village chair Abubakar Abdul, killed in January this year, also in Parang.
The day before these killings, men ambushed on Saturday, April 8, a village chairperson of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat, after he arrived in Ampatuan, Maguindanao del Sur to visit an ailing relative.
Danny Angkay, chairperson of Barangay Salaman and companions were together in a minivan when attacked by motorcycle-riding men along the Cotabato-Isulan national highway.
In Lamitan City, Basilan province on April 3, a village chief survived an ambush that took the life of his driver and wounded two of his companions in Barangay Maloong San Jose.
Robert Jalal, barangay chairman of Simbangon, survived the attack that killed his driver Omar Akirin and wounded him and two companions, Lieutenant Colonel Arlan Delumpines, Lamitan city police director.
Jalal was on board a Toyota Hi-Lux with two companions and the driver when attacked.
On March 22, Lamitan City Councilor Abubakar Karim Gunong’s warehouse in Sitio Darussalam, Aguinaldo Street, Barangay Matibay was also bombed, although suspects used low key firecrackers, said Dalumpines.
It was not established yet if the killings of village leaders had anything to do with the barangay elections in October this year, but in March this year, Basilan Gov. Jim Hataman Salliman called for the postponement of the barangay elections in the BARMM, unless national and local authorities could ensure a gun-free electoral exercise.
He said the call to postpone the elections was issued alongside their calls to fast-track the decommissioning of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants.
“All governors of the BARMM are also calling for the postponement of the barangay elections unless security forces could assure full control of the situation,” he said.
As long as there were armed men other than the security forces, the peace agreement as well as the conduct of the upcoming electoral exercise would be affected.