BASILAN, Philippines – Gunmen killed four men in a house in Lamitan City, Basilan, on Tuesday, November 8 – seen as an attack to avenge the ambush of three soldiers in a neighboring town in September.
The victims – Abbas Jangkatan, Gappal Mustapa Pagi, Ardayan Dammang Amoto, and their still unidentified companion – were sleeping when an armed group barged into a house in the village of Baas at around 3:30 am and sprayed them with gunfire.
Police said a fifth victim, 18-year-old Muafiz Tamudjul, was wounded and rushed to the Lamitan City District Hospital.
Lamitan City police chief Lieutenant Colonel Arlan Delumpines said Jangkatan was the primary suspect in the ambush in Al-Barka town in Basilan about two months ago.
Jangkatan, also known as Abu Tarzan, was the alleged leader of an Abu Sayyaf group of six men who killed Army Corporal Mike Repoponio and privates 1st Class Jhon Philip Pamplona and Jerwin Capoy in the village of Magcawa near the Al-Barka town hall on September 15.
Delumpines said Jangkatan and his companions had attended a wedding the day before and were fast asleep when the surprise attack was carried out.
They succumbed to multiple gunshots in the head and all over their bodies.
Lieutenant Colonel John Cundo, commander of the police’s 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company in Basilan, said the assailants were armed with high-powered weapons and carried out the attack with military precision.
Investigators found 16 caliber 5.56mm rifle shells, a caliber M16 rifle, and a fully loaded magazine at the crime scene.
Authorities said they were working to find out who was responsible for the surprise attack although the circumstances indicate the possibility that it was carried out to avenge the deaths of the victims of the September ambush.
Investigators earlier alleged that the group behind the September 15 ambush of soldiers was led by Jangkatan.
The soldiers were on their way to replace a group that was manning a detachment of the Army’s 18th Infantry Battalion when they were attacked in Al-Barka.
Two of the soldiers were shot in the head while another died after sustaining a stomach wound. – Rappler.com