Moro leaders condemn bombing at Mindanao State University in Marawi
PAGADIAN CITY/MANILA, Philippines — Moro leaders strongly condemned the bombing of a congregation of Christian faithful holding a Holy Mass inside a gym of the Mindanao State University (MSU) campus in Marawi City on Sunday morning.
Based on photos shared by netizens, the Inquirer counted at least seven persons killed on the spot.
Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) police director Brigadier General Allan Nobleza said initial reports from Marawi showed three who died on the spot.
“I condemn the violent bombing incident that transpired this morning at the Dimaporo Gymnasium at the Mindanao State University during a Sunday mass congregation,” Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Alonto-Adiong said in a statement.
“Here in my province, we uphold basic human rights, and that includes the right to religion. Terroristic attacks on educational institutions must also be condemned because these are places that promote the culture of peace and mold our youth to be the future shapers of this country,” Adiong added.
“To the families of those whose lives were lost in this senseless act of violence and terrorism, please accept our deepest condolences and sympathies. We will make sure justice will be served,” he further said.
The governor urged the security sector “to get to the bottom of this immediately.”
Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman also condemned the recent atrocity in Marawi.
“This is plain and simple terrorism. Wala na tayong ibang salita para ilarawan ang karahasan na ginawa sa mga estudyanteng payapang nagdadaos ng misa kanina, isang malayang pagpapahayag ng kanilang relihiyon,” Hataman said.
(This is plain and simple terrorism. We have no other words to describe the violence done to students who were peacefully holding mass earlier, a free expression of their religion.)
“Nakikiramay tayo sa mga pamilya ng mga namatay sa insidenteng ito. Hindi dapat nagiging target ng karahasan ang ating mga anak. Hindi battle zone ang ating mga paaralan. Dapat ay panatag ang mga magulang na ligtas ang kanilang mga anak sa loob ng eskwelahan,” he also said.
(Our condolences to the families of those who died in this incident. Our children should not become targets of violence. Our schools are not battle zones. Parents should be assured that their children are safe in school.)
“I call on the authorities to investigate this fully, leaving no stone unturned. The perpetrators should be unmasked,” Hataman added, vowing to closely monitor the developments of this case to ensure justice for the victims and their families.
“We are shocked with the reports of (this) horrendous incident. It’s tragic for everyone, as our Christian brothers and sisters are observing the first Sunday Advent in preparation for Christmas,” said Basilan Gov. Jim Hataman-Salliman.
He said the bombing is “an act of barbarism, snatching away lives of innocent people who were inside attending a (Holy) Mass.”
BARMM Member of Parliament Amir Mawallil likewise denounced the brazen attack and offered his condolences to the families of the victims.
“MSU is home to both Muslims and Christians alike. Our students should not be living in fear inside our schools, colleges and universities. This is the sad reality that we need to address,” he said in a statement.
“I offer my condolences to the families of those who died in this act of terrorism, and I urge the BARMM police to thoroughly investigate this case and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Mawallil added.
In a statement also on Sunday, the MSU administration said it has suspended classes until further notice due to the bombing incident.
“The community is deeply saddened and appalled by the act of violence that occurred during a religious gathering at the university gymnasium this morning. We unequivocally condemn in the strongest possible terms this senseless and horrific act and extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families. We are committed to providing support and assistance to those affected by this tragedy,” the university said.
“We stand in solidarity with our Christian community and all those affected by this tragedy. We will not be deterred by this act of violence, and we will continue to work towards building a more peaceful and just MSU community.”
“Violence has no place in a civilized society, and it is particularly abhorrent in an institution of higher learning like MSU, a bulwark of peace, harmony, solidarity, reverence for life and humanity. This attack is an assault on our core values and our commitment to creating a safe and inclusive community for all,” the MSU also said.
“This attack is purely evil,” said Drieza Lininding of the Moro Consensus Group.