“Not even a rookie kidnapper would bring his hostage to Maimbung”

The CBCS called on the Arroyo administration to “conduct an impartial, transparent and open investigation to identify, bring to the folds of justice, and prosecute …all the perpetrators “ of the Maimbung massacre as hundreds of protesters picketed the arrival of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro in Jolo, Sulu last Saturday, demanding “justice” for the eight victims.

Sulu Governor Sakur Tan, Jolo Mayor Hussein Amin, Rep. Yusoph Jikiri  went up the makeshift stage during the rally initiated by civil society in front of the town hall of Jolo, Sulu, on February 9, demanding justice for the victims of the “Ipil Massacre” in Maimbung.

The CBCS reported a two-year old baby survived the massacre, thanks to a 15-year teener who “managed to drop herself over the baby on the banca’s floor.”

Seven civilians and an Army soldier on vacation from his Cotabato assignment were killed in the 2:30 a.m. massacre the CBCS said was perpetrated “by members of the Special Warfare Group of the Philippine Navy and Light Reaction Company of the Philippine Army, in the company of US soldiers who are part of the Balikatan Exercises under the Visiting Forces Agreement.”

In a position paper signed by the chapter chairs and CBCS secretary-general Sammy P. Maulana, the group said what happened was “a truly barbaric and gang-like act that is unworthy of the assertions of the Philippine Military Institution that it is the protector of the people.”

(In the earlier report, Mr. Maulana Alonto was inadvertently named CBCS secretay general. The secretary-general is Sammy P. Maulana. Our apologies) 

The CBCS noted that the government forces conducted operations at around 2:30 pm in Ipil, Maimbung, based on an information given to them by one of their assets that the Abu Sayyaf Group  who had kidnapped and hostaged Tawi Tawi-based Chinese businesswoman Rosalinda Lao was in the vicinity. But the place, they said, was “non-ideal” to hide hostages.

One of those killed, Cpl. Ibno Wahid, an MNLF integree into the Army’s 40th IB based in Cotabato City who was on his third day of vacation there, came out of his house and  identified himself to the soldiers as “Papa Alpha,” to indicate he was from the Philippine Army.

“Despite showing all the paraphernalia to prove his identity, Cpl. Wahid was harassed and accused of being a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group. He was hogtied with plastic handcuffs and made to lie flat on his stomach. They then kicked his back with their heavy boots and stepped on it. After that, an M-16 rifle was pressed on his back and a full magazine of bullets was emptied to his spine, in front of his pleading wife,” the CBCS statement read.

When the shots were fired, the statement added, three families comprising 11 individuals from neighboring houses “fled towards the shore and rode on a small wooden boat or banca to get away. They were intercepted by a rubber naval boat and at about two meters distance, they were strafed at without let up. In the process, seven more civilians were killed. One was a four year old girl, Marisa Failan, another was a nine year old boy, Rismin Lahim, and yet another was a four-month pregnant woman, 24 year old Nasriyah Bin Akub.”

A village councilor, Eldhisim Lahim, was also killed, his eyes gouged and his right forefinger cut off.

Saida Failan, mother of Marisa Failan, shouted at the soldiers on the naval boat that they were civilians and pleaded not to fire at them. “But their pleas were not heeded. “Another survivor said that someone from the boat shouted ‘fire,’  right before the carnage began. In the middle of the carnage, two of the survivors dove into the water and steered the banca away from the naval boat towards the direction of another islet, Mahika,” the CBCSsaid.

The CBCS statement said Rahana, the widow of  Wahid who was also handcuffed,
“was later brought to the naval boat together with the body of her husband. Inside, she saw at least four US soldiers. She also saw some of her properties and livestock onboard, apparently looted by this very same group.”

The presence of the US soldiers was “later confirmed by vendors along the wharf of the Jolo port, because they saw them go off board along with Rawina Wahid, the body of Cpl. Wahid, and the PN-SWAG, PA-LRC soldiers after it had docked,” the CBCS said.

The statement was signed by Temogen Tulawie, Chair of CBCS Sulu; Maguid Maruhom, CBCS Sibugay chair; Nathan Insung, chair of CBCS Basilan; Munib Kahal, CBCS Zamboanga chair; Ustadz Rahib Kudto; CBCS Kutawato region chair; Aminoden Cali, CBCS Ranao chair; Oscar Sulaiman, CBCS Rajah Buayan; Sammy Buat, CBCS Dabaw region chair and CBCS Secretary-General Sammy P. Maulana.

The group  called on  the Arroyo administration to “conduct an impartial, transparent and open investigation to identify, bring to the folds of justice, and prosecute using the full force of the law all the perpetrators of the Barangay Ipil Massacre,”  to indemnify and give justice to the families of the victims of the Bgy. Ipil Massacre and the residents of Bgy. Ipil; to scrap the VFA and render inutile the Balikatan Exercises, ordering the pull out of all US troops in Mindanao and to uphold the unconditional realization of human rights, not only in the Province of Sulu, but all over the Philippines, while it is engaged in a peace process with the Bangsamoro People through the MNLF and the MILF.” (MindaNews)