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COTABATO, Philippines – Armed men barged inside a public school and killed a student who also served as a militiaman in Pikit town, Cotabato province, on Wednesday, November 29.
Classes at the Datu Dalandag National High School in Ginatilan, Pikit town were suspended as a consequence.
Major Arvin Cambang, Pikit’s chief of police, identified the victim as 21-year-old 11th grader John Rey Cabuga, who was also a militiaman in his village.
Based on investigations and witness accounts, two men breached the school compound and, upon encountering the victim, immediately opened fire.
Initial findings indicate that the suspects were armed with .45 caliber pistols.
“The two suspects simply walked away from the school and fled on a motorcycle,” Cambang said.
The victim died on the spot, his bloodied body sprawled on the school’s open ground, horrifying teachers and students.
The latest shooting took place just as the town and province were marking the “Week of Peace,” with the theme: “Diversity and Harmony: Bridging the Differences Through Dialogue.”
Cambang said the victim was a member of the Civilian Auxiliary Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) under the Army and was assigned to help secure the village of Ginatilan.
“We are closely looking into his work as a CAFGU member, which could lead us to a potential motive for the killing,” Cambang said.
Pikit town has seen a string of attacks and shooting incidents near school areas since February.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) earlier expressed concern and issued a statement urging the protection of innocent children from violent incidents in schools.
The alarming pattern of attacks on students, leading to casualties, also caught the attention of Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte. She had ordered a return to online classes in the town early this year as a response. – Rappler.com