27 SAF troopers shot in the head – initial report

Voltaire Tupaz
27 SAF troopers shot in the head – initial report
The PNP releases an update on the Board of Inquiry probe into the Mamasapano clash

MANILA, Philipines – Did some members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP SAF) suffer from an “overkill” during the Mamasapano clash on January 25?

The initial medico-legal report released by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on Saturday, February 14, showed that 27 of the 44 elite cops who died in the carnage suffered gunshot wounds to the head.

Of the number, 18 also suffered fatal wounds to the trunks and extremities, according to the initial report released by the CIDG to update the media on  Board of Inquiry (BOI) investigation on the Mamasapano incident.

The elite cops were on a mission to neutralize bomb-maker and top terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, better known as “Marwan,” who was killed in the operation, and Abdul Basit Usman, who escaped. (READ: Timeline: Mamasapano clash)

Shot at close range?

The cause of death of 17 other troopers were gunshot wounds to the trunk and extremities, based on the autopsy report.

The report revealed that 3 troopers sustained wounds in the middle portion of their bodies “which indicates that the victims might not be wearing their vests or the vests have been removed then shot,” according to the analysis of Police Senior Superintendent Emmanuel Aranas, deputy director of the PNP crime laboratory in Camp Crame.

The results also indicated that a cop was shot at close range – less than 15 centimeters from the head.

Meanwhile, medico-legal examination showed that the SAF member seen in the video that went viral on social media  “sustained injuries in the lower left thigh, and two fatal shots were inflicted in the head.” (READ: Battalion chief confirms SAF member in Mamasapano video)

“Results indicate that the victim was shot at close range with a pistol about 60cm to at least a couple of meter from the point of entry,” the examination result showed.

SITE OF CLASH. A man points to reporters January 28, 2015 the site where SAF policemen and rebels first engaged in intense fighting on January 25, 2015 in Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The autopsies conducted on January 27 and 28 are still subject to further analysis, said Police Chief Inspector Elizabeth Degocena Jasmin, CIDG public information office chief.

The initial report is part of the  PNP’s ongoing probe into one of its bloodiest operations. (READ: CIDG chief heads PNP’s Mamasapano probe)

Four congressional hearings – 3 so far in the Senate and anotherin the House of Representatives – have been conducted but left nagging questions on who should ultimately be held accountable for the bloody clash. (READ: 5 nagging questions on the Mamasapano clash)

Not an ‘overkill’

In the February 9 Senate hearing on the Mamasapano clash, PNP Officer-in-Charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina lamented that “44 of my men from the SAF were killed in a brutal and merciless fashion…while performing legitimate police operations.” 

But a Muslim rebel commander earlier stressed, it was not an “overkill.”  He said his troops only retaliated against an elite police force thinking the attack was part of a clan war. (READ: MILF commander: No ‘overkill’ in Mamasapano)

“Akala namin rido (clan war) ‘yun. Ang kadalasang mangyari sa amin, rido (Rido usually happens in our area),” Haramen operations commander of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces said. – Rappler.com

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