Killing of Basilan mayor may be election-related rido — military official

Residents of Al-Barka, Basilan mourn as the body of Mayor Darussalam Lajid is laid to rest on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. Photo courtesy of Arlyn Jawad Jumao-as

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 07 December) — Rido (clan war) fueled by politics could be the motive behind the killing Monday of Mayor Darussalam Lajid of Al-Barka, Basilan, Task Force Basilan Commander BGen Domingo Gobway said in an interview.

Lajid was killed while Mayor Alih Salih of Akbar town from the same province was wounded after still unidentified gunmen attacked them Monday morning shortly after disembarking from a seacraft at the Balisawan Seaside here.

“Pwedeng connected sa rido at politics dahil tumatakbong mayor si vice mayor. Eh dati, magkakampi ‘yan sila,” (It could be rido and politics because the vice mayor is running for mayor. They used to be allies) Gobway said, alluding to Al-Barka Vice Mayor Mujib Jakilan.

Basilan Governor Jim Salliman condemned the incident. But he said he cannot categorically say that the attack was election-related even if Jakilan is also running for mayor, or that it was related to the shooting incident on Aug. 3 this year involving the two camps.

“We don’t know yet because both have enemies. But the Armed Forces of the Philippines had ironed things out between them last month. In fact, there was an amicable settlement, although some things remained unresolved, but both agreed to identify who the perpetrators were of that incident (Aug. 3 shooting),” Saliman said in Filipino.

On Aug. 3 this year, armed followers of Lajid and Jakilan clashed, killing Lajid’s nephew, Amman Lajid, and Topy Kinista, Jakilan’s relative and supporter.

Gobway said Lajid and Jakilan were scheduled to sign a peace covenant on Wednesday, Dec. 8.

Gobway, who had tried to bring the two parties to a dialogue, confirmed that they had arrived at an amicable settlement on Nov. 20 at the brigade headquarters.

But he added that their children were unable to go with them because the night before the settlement the vice mayor’s bodyguard identified as Abusarin Jaafar Munkarun was killed in his house in Lamitan City.

Salliman affirmed Gobway’s statement that there remained unresolved issues between Lajid and Jakilan, who were cousins, which were not known to the intervening parties.

He said Lajid engaged in peace and development work in his first two terms as mayor. “In fact, his children are professionals.”

The slain mayor’s son is the first medical doctor from Al-Barka.

Lajid’s body was transported by a speedboat at noon of December 6, Monday, to Al-barka, where it was buried on the same day.

Mayor Sali meanwhile was reported to be in stable condition as on Tuesday by attending physician Dr. Noel Arquiza of Brent Hospital.

But his bodyguard-cousin, Barad Nuruddin, died almost 9 a.m. on Monday, city police director Rexmel Reyes said in his report to the Police Regional Office-9.

Police investigators recovered five shells of .45 caliber pistol at the crime scene.

Police said the two mayors arrived past 8 a.m. on Monday at a private port fronting the house of fisherman Zaldy Hamid. They were with their wives, children (identities withheld for security reasons) and some civilian escorts.

The gunmen opened fire after the group of the two mayors reached the mosque in Baliwasan, Police Corporal Alnajar Hussam said in a report.

Deputy House Speaker Mujiv Hataman expressed his grief in his social media account.

In a phone interview, he described Lajid as a good leader who had served his people and province well, participating in security efforts in Al-Barka and implementing infrastructure projects. (Frencie Carreon/MindaNews)