2 kids among 4 civilians killed in Basilan operations
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two children were killed in a joint police and military operation on Tapiantana Island in Tabuan Lasa town in Basilan on March 8.
This is contrary to the military’s claim that four bandits were killed in the clash.
Dr. Arlyn Jumao-as, executive director of the Save the Children from Armed Conflict in Basilan, said two children were among the four civilians who were killed in Tapiantana Island. Senior Supt. Nickson Muksan, Basilan police chief, confirmed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the deaths of the two children.
Jumao-as identified the children as Nurmida Alha Abbi, 7, and Ashab Tawallah Abuhaip, 12.
Jumao-as said Abbi suffered bullet wounds in the head and died instantly, while Abuhaip died while being rushed to the hospital.
Also killed were village leader Billamin Hassan, 59, and fisherman Nuruddin Musaddul Muhlis, 24.
Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of Western Mindanao Command, earlier said four members of the Abu Sayyaf group, including a relative of top leader Isnilon Hapilon, were killed in an operation conducted by the Joint Task Force Basilan and the police.
Petinglay said “reports from the ground units” revealed that the government forces engaged the Abu Sayyaf bandits, led by Ustadz Mobin Kulin alias Mulawin in a 30-minute firefight.
Kulin was Hapilon’s cousin.,,“The encounter resulted in the death of Kulin and three of his members,” Petinglay said, adding that the bodies were recovered from the encounter site.
But Senior Supt. Nickson Muksan, Basilan police chief, earlier said initial reports showed that only one person — Hadji Billamin Hassan, a resident of Tung-Umos, Tabuan Lasa –-was killed.
Muksan said Kulin had a P600,000-reward on his head.
Hassan, on the other hand, was a wanted man facing arson charges.
Muksan later confirmed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer Inquirer the deaths of the two children. He said they were not immediately informed about the deaths of the children, saying the operation was conducted by the military and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region.
Muksan said they were still investigating the case. SFM/rga
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