ARMM’s Hataman to military: go after Abu

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/02 Nov) – Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has recommended an all-out military offensive against the Abu Sayyaf Group that ambushed and killed six government soldiers, including a young lieutenant, in a remote village in Sumisip, Basilan which the governor was visiting Sunday.

Hataman, who hails from Basilan, condemned “this cowardly act of the Abu Sayyaf.”

“I am recommending an all-out offensive against these terrorist groups,” he said.

He said he might have been caught in the ambush if he had gone to Sumisip. “I’m here in Basilan today for a project visit, we were about to go next to Sumisip town to check on the completion of the circumferential road when we were informed while travelling from Isabela town that an ambush took place,” he said.

It takes about two hours to reach Sumisip from Isabela. Hataman and the Army’s 104th Brigade commander Col. Rolando Bautista, proceeded to the ambush site.

“It was devastating. The soldiers had almost nowhere to run. The assailants blocked every escape route, the Governor said.

Troops from the Army’s 64th Infantry Battalion were deployed to secure a Saudi-funded project in Barangay Libug, Sumisip. They were conducting security patrol in Sitio Mompol, in the same barangay at around 7:30 am when ambushed by around 20 armed men led by a certain Radzmi Jannatul and certain Katatung, Bautista said.

He said the firefight lasted for about 45 minutes resulting in the death of six soldiers.

The Basilan Circumferential Road is a multi-million project targeted for completion soon. Only 2.5 kilometers are left to complete the project that started in 2011, Hataman said.

“My soldiers were securing the Basilan Circumferential Road project to ensure its timely completion before the end of this year. I am saddened by this senseless violence against our soldiers who are helping in the delivery of public service,” he said. (MindaNews)