MAMASAPANO, Maguindanao (MindaNews/31 January) –The site of the bloody clash Sunday in Mamasapano, Maguindanao between government forces and rebel groups remains unsafe due to the possible presence of unexploded ordnances (UXOs) in the area, the Foundation Suise de Deminage (Swiss Foundation for Mine Action) or FSD said Friday.
Sanina Kamenza, FSD operations coordinator, said the group scheduled an ocular inspection in the clash site Thursday but backed off after civilians reported seeing unexploded mines in the corn field.
The group on Thursday held a mine risk awareness session for Mamapasano residents at the town center so they would know what to do if they find UXOs in their midst.
“There’s always the possibility that UXO littered in the clash site that endanger peoples’ lives,” Kamenza said.
Forty-four members of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police were killed in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano Sunday in an operation against suspected terrorists Zulkipli Bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.
The police operatives clashed with members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front after reportedly killing Marwan whose body was said to have been buried immediately in keeping with Muslim tradition.
Marwan, a suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed at least 200 people, carried a $5-million reward on his head. His death was yet to be confirmed through a DNA test.
Usman carries a $1-million bounty for his death or capture.
At least 10 rebels were also killed in the clash that has created uncertainties on the fate of the peace process between the government and MILF. A civilian was likewise killed.
Meanwhile, at least 1,500 Moro families refused to return home for fear government forces might retaliate for the death of the 44 police commandos. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)