Meranaws call for justice for slain Imam, raise a million pesos reward money

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 17 December) — Some 5,000 Meranaws gathered in Matampay Sunday to demand justice for an Imam slain in Baguio City and raised a million pesos to contribute to the reward money for anyone who could provide information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrator.

Abdullah, an Imam who taught at the Discover Islam Baguio, and volunteered his services at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), was shot dead along Kayang Street, at 11:30 a.m. on December 6, “a killing we view as an act of terrorism conducted in broad daylight,” Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said in a statement.

Meranaw protesters in Marawi City seek justice for Imam Bedejim Abdullah and set on fire a tarpaulin showing images from a CCTV camera of the suspected killer during a prayer and indignation rally on Sunday, December 16, 2018. The Maranaws raised a million pesos to contribute to the reward money for the arrest of the perpetrator. MindaNews photo by RICHEL V. UMEL

Meranaw leader Agakhan Sharief said they are still awaiting updates on the case of Abdullah. The motive behind the killing, he said, is not clear and while the CCTV camera captured images of the perpetrator, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Baguio City has not identified the criminal. “Posibleng hindi taga Baguio City ang killer” (it’s possible the killer is not from Baguio).

“Nanawagan kami kay President Rodrigo Roa Duterte na bigyan pansin ang kaso sa pagpatay at bigyan ng hustisya ang pagkamatay ni Imam Abdullah” (we call on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to give attention to the killing of Imam Abdullah and the call for justice), Sharief said.

The Maranaws burned a tarpaulin showing images of the suspect as caught on CCTV camera.

Hataman described Abdullah, also vice chair of the multi-sectoral Regional Advisory Council of the Cordillera police,  as a “vocal supporter of non-violent efforts to eradicate extremism, the same position we take in the ARMM.”

He said Abdullah’s death “is a loss not only for Muslims, but to all peace-loving people.

He called on authorities in the Cordillera Administrative Region to conduct a thorough investigation into Abdullah’s slay and deliver justice to him and his family.

“Justice is the strongest foundation for peace, and we trust that our call seeking justice for Abdullah will be heard and heeded,” Hataman added.

Imam Bedejim Abdullah photo posted on his FB page on November 28, 2018.

In a statement, the PMA said it recognizes and appreciates Abdullah’s nearly 17 years of “invaluable support to the command,” for his “altruistic involvement and participation,” especially in providing religious and moral values program” to the Muslim community there, “in support to the Character Development of the cadets.”

The PMA also urged the public to report to the nearest police station any information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.  (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)