Police officer hurt after armed men attacked newly-built barracks
ZAMBOANGA CITY – A month after it was completed and only two days after police personnel arrived to occupy it, the newly-constructed barracks at Tipo-tipo Proper, Tipo-Tipo town of Basilan province was attacked by still unidentified armed men, wounding a police officer on Wednesday, April 12.
Richard Falcatan, information officer of the Basilan Provincial Office, said Police Corporal Naser Jain of the 1st Basilan Provincial Mobile Force Company was on duty when armed men attacked the barracks, a month after the structure was completed and only two days after Jain’s arrival at his new post. “He was hit in his head and was rushed to Lamitan District Hospital for immediate medical treatment,” Falcatan said.
It was learned that Tipo-Tipo Vice Mayor Tong Isarul had helped build the structure.
Tipo-Tipo is just five kilometers away from Al Barka town, where barely six months ago, armed men had attacked a military detachment in Macagwa village, killing three soldiers as a result.
Police Col. John Cundo, operations officer of the Basilan provincial police office, suspected that the armed men who ambushed the detachment of the 18th Infantry Battalion on September 15 last year could have something to do with those who attacked the newly-built barracks in Tipo-Tipo.
“The mobile forces are still new to the area. They just arrived there on Monday. When someone is new (to the place), they (some people) try to make their presence felt in the form of harassment,” Cundo said. “We recommended that they (the police) conduct courtesy call to the people; perhaps, dialogue with the communities so (that) they will know (who) their protectors (are) and where to run (to) for help,” added Cundo, the former commander of the Provincial Mobile Force Battalion in Basilan
He identified the perpetrators as two armed men on a motorcycle who had fired at the detachment and hit Jain. Strategically located near the public market and along the highway, the detachment was designed as part of the security forces’ quick response units to aid the communities in case of attacks. He said different towns in Basilan had been required to establish at least one detachment each to respond to emergencies or crisis situations that might be faced by the communities.
“Majority of the detachments and camps are located in Lamitan City and it takes time to respond if all the units are coming from Lamitan. The detachment in Tipo-Tipo was one of the detachments approved by higher office for our quick response actions should communities need our help.” He said that law enforcers normally had to travel almost an hour from Lamitan to reach Tipo-Tipo.