2 priests escape ambush in Basilan

2 Catholic priests and their Cafgu security survive an ambush in Basilan

MANILA, Philippines — Armed men ambushed a convoy of two Catholic priests and their security escorts in Basilan province on Sunday, July 15, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said on its Facebook page.

Fathers Elmer Cantular and Julius Boado were unharmed in the attack, which occurred near Barangay Tumahubong in the town of Sumisip in Basilan, the CBCP added.

Quoting Isabela Bishop Martin Jumoad, the CBCP said the priests were on their way to Basilan’s capital of Isabela when the attack on their security escorts, mostly from the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu), happened. None of the escorts were harmed, according to initial information relayed by Jumoad to the CBCP.

“The Cafgus conducting road security were [about] a kilometer away from the priests’ vehicle when they were attacked,” the CBCP quoted Jumoad as saying. “And so that’s why the priests and another group of military escorts had to go back to Tumahubong immediately,” he said.

They were supposed to attend a retreat for seminarians in Isabela. “The incident was alarming so they did not push through,” the CBCP quoted Jumoad as saying.

The bishop said he immediately met with police, military, and government officials of Basilan province.

Only last week, July 11, suspected Abu Sayyaf members ambush a convoy of farmworkers in Sumisip, killing 6 and wounding 22 others.

In April, suspected Abu Sayyaf members killed 3 militias conducting security patrol at a rubber plantation also in Sumisip. In October 2011, a similar incident occurred which resulted in the death of 6. – Rappler.com