Heavy mortar shelling frightens, kills Ustadz

Saida Kamid Guiamlod, Ustadz Guiamlod’s wife, said her husband was about to open their door around 5:30 a.m. when a loud blast awakened them. She said he then ran to his relatives at the evacuation center Datu Gumbay Piang Elementary School.

Saida followed her husband to a bunkhouse inside the evacuation center and saw him trembling in fear. She brought him to a private clinic also in the town and found out that his blood pressure shot up.

But after few minutes the ustadz decided to go to his class at the madrasah, as his students were waiting for him.

Around 10 a.m., the 54th IB launched another artillery shell creating a loud blast that sent him to the floor shuddering. He was already dead when Saida arrived at the madrasah.

Musib Uy Tan, executive assistant of Datu Piang Mayor Samer Uy, said that the military fired a 155mm artillery shell. He confirmed that the series of shelling on Monday was heavier than the previous one.

Tan said the shelling targeted Barangays Ganta, Bakat, Kinaladan, Penditen all of Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Dasawaw in Datu Piang. He said the military conducted operations in these areas due to the alleged presence of Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels under Commander Ameril Umbra Kato. 

One hundred forty-seven families from Ganta and Bakat  fled their homes and sought refuge in Datu Piang.

Tan said they were still locating and listing the names of the new evacuees to see if there was a need to open another evacuation center. He said some of them sought refuge with relatives in Datu Piang. (Sittie Sundang/MindaNews contributor. Sittie Sundang is a member of the Mindanao Tulong Bakwet, a Cotabato City-based NGO helping internally displaced persons).