MANILA, Philippines – Three militias and one bandit were killed in an early morning ambush in a remote village in Basilan on Thursday, April 5, the military said.
Suspected Abu Sayyaf members attacked military-armed civilians while the latter were conducting security patrol at a rubber plantation in Barangay Tumahubong, Sumisip town at around 5:30 am Thursday, an Army officer said.
“Suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) led by a certain Radzmir Janatul led the ambush,” Col Ramon Yogyog of the military’s Special Operations Task Force-Basilan (SOTF-Basilan) said in a text message.
Yogyog said the victims were conducting security patrol at the Tumahubong Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Incorporated Development Cooperative (TARBIDC), which operates vast rubber plantations in the area, when they were ambushed.
Killed in the attack were Hasan Manjapal, Nusaman Hatulla and Nolmer Lumbos, all members of the Special Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary, more commonly known as militiamen. They’re funded and supervised by the military, as part of the government’s overall security strategy.
One of the attackers was also reported killed when the militias fought back, according to Yogyog.
Those injured were identified as Macion Bonifacion, Reynaldo Pia, Alihol Bistanul, Pangamdas Mujib, Munap Saalul, Ahmad Ibrahim and Lucman Unzah.
Army troops have been deployed to the area to pursue the bandits, according to Yogyog.
“Apparently, the continuing violence against TARBIDC may have to do with the extortion threats it has reportedly been receiving, as well as some territorial disputes it may be involved with,” Yogyog said.
TARBIDC is owned and managed by plantation workers. It gained prominence in the 1990s as one of the plantation industry’s success stories in Mindanao.
This the second time in a little less than 6 months that the same area was attacked by lawless groups.
In October 2011, a total of 5 people, mostly rubber farmers and militiamen, were also killed in Barangay Cabengbeng, Sumisip when they were ambushed while on their way to the plantation to tap rubber latex. – Rappler.com
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