2 militiamen slain, 3 others injured in Basilan clash

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/08 February) – Two militiamen were killed while three others were wounded in a clash Friday between government forces and an armed group that harassed workers of a government project in Sumisip, Basilan province.

Lt. Col. Leandro Dacumos, commander of the 64th Infantry Battalion, said the firefight broke out around 6:30 a.m. Friday when the militiamen responded to a report that at least 15 gunmen had occupied a water system project site in Sitio Buhi, Barangay Sukaten, Sumisip.

Dacumos said in a statement Saturday that the gunmen were led by Kotatong Balaman, whose group reportedly engages in extortion and other illegal activities in Sumisip.

He said Balaman’s group threatened to harm the workers if they insisted on implementing the water system project.

The project will provide potable water to the residents of Barangay Sukaten and is funded by the municipal government.

Dacumos identified the slain militiamen as Duminta Gulinda and Bejo Sampang.

Wounded were Almirin Pantao, Omar Jadjales and Oloy Malanji, all members of the militia force. They were rushed to a hospital in Isabela City, the capital of Basilan province.

Dacumos said Balaman’s group fled to the hinterlands after the firefight. (MindaNews)