Minutes after the Friday prayers in Datu Odin Sinsuat’s mosque, shots rang out

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DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 01 October) – The congregation that gathered for the Friday prayers at the mosque here in the poblacion of Barangay Dalican had just stepped out when shots rang out at around 12:40  p.m. killing barangay chair Datu Jamael Sinsuat, Sr.  Five hours later, his nephew would survive an ambush.

The victim ran for mayor in the May 2022 polls under the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) but lost to his nephew,  Lester Sinsuat (Nacionalista Party), a former Vice Governor of Maguindanao. 

According to the Maguindanao police, the victim had just stepped out of the gate of the mosque compound and was about to board his vehicle after attending the Friday prayers when a gunman shot him from across the road. The victim’s security escorts fired back at the gunman, killing him.

The fallen gunman, across the road from the gate of the mosque in Barangay Dalican, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. The gunman fired at Datu Jamael Sinsuat, Sr. as he was boarding his car after attending Friday prayers on 30 September 2022. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

The mosque is located about a hundred meters away from the municipal police station of Datu Odin Sinsuat. The town is the capital of the newly-created Maguindanao del Norte whose first governor will be Maguindanao Vice Governor Ainee Sinsuat, wife of Lester. 

Police Colonel Roel Sermese, Provincial Police Director, said the gunman shot the victim without provocation.

The gunman has yet to be identified. Sermes said he had no identification documents and no one has claimed his remains at the funeral parlor in Cotabato City. 

Scene of the crime operatives on the road outside the mosque on Friday, 30 September 2022. On the left side (in red) is the gunman who was killed by security escorts of Datu Jamael Sinsuat, Sr. Barangay chair of Dalican who ran for mayor in the May 2022 polls but lost to a nephew. The gunman shot Sinsuat as he was boarding his car after attending the Friday prayers. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

Five hours later, a nephew of the barangay chair was injured in an ambush, also in the same town. Sermese identified him as Darius Sinsuat, son of former Maguindanao Vice Governor Datu Bimbo Sinsuat. 

Sermese said Darius was on board his vehicle when gunmen fired on them. 

Sermese immediately called for a case conference to prevent an escalation of violence.

In a statement, UBJP Vice chair Mohagher Iqbal, concurrent Bangsamoro Minister of Education and chair of the Peace Implementing Panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, condemned the killing and other violent incidents that he noted, started during the election season. 

The UBJP, the political party of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, condoled with the family of Datu Jam Sinsuat, as it sought justice for him and Darius Sinsuat. 

Iqbal also urged the BARMM police office to relieve the chief of police of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Lt. Col. Erwin Tabora for “failure to keep the peace and order in Datu Odin Sinsuat.” (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)

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