Mindanao State University (MSU) officials on Wednesday, September 15, condemned Tuesday's shooting deaths of its two third year college students at its main campus in Marawi City.
MSU students also organized and staged a demonstration, calling on authorities to secure the campus and bring the killers to justice.
Riding-in-tandem gunmen shot and killed physical education student Hamza Rauf and civil engineering student Zinal Omar at a commercial area within the MSU campus on Tuesday night.
Police said they have identified suspects but have yet to arrest anyone as of this posting.
“The MSU-Main Campus Administration and the entire appalled community condemn the insensate fatal shooting of two students yesterday. This abominable act of violence is an assault on the ideals that we as a civilized, God-fearing, and peace-loving Muslim community lives by,” read a statement from MSU president Dr. Habib Macaayong.
Macaayong appealed for calm and sobriety following the incident.
“While authorities go about their job of investigating the heinous crime and determining the identities of the people involved, the public is cautioned to do its part by avoiding wanton speculations that could only sow confusion and spread fear or panic,” MSU said.
It added, “The University expresses its heartfelt condolences and sympathy for the bereaved families as they deal with their loved ones' untimely and tragic demise. These two young men have come to MSU because they had dreams for themselves and their families, and it is dismaying and frustrating that these dreams have been destroyed by a senseless taking of their lives."
Macaayong said he and other MSU officials were grieving, dismayed, and outraged because the campus should have been a safe space for students and other people.
“We reiterate that the administration is doing what it can to bring a speedy resolution to the crime, and is encouraging the community to practice prudence and restraint while the case is being investigated by the authorities,” MSU said.
Macaayong called for a dialogue among the Marawi police, MSU department heads, and representatives.
“Will MSU be safe? The motivation behind such indifference towards justice is something that the university should address upon, achieving inclusive education towards a progressive nation. Before development, there should be peace and security,” read a statement by MSU campus publication The Mindanao Varsitarian.
It was not the first time for MSU to see bloodshed in its 1,000-hectare Marawi campus. Victims have included staff, students, and even soldiers.
On October 25, 2012, university professor Othello Cobal, and 22-year-old graduating student Erwin Diaz, 22, were killed in a fire while their hands were tied behind their backs. Diaz’s 14-year-old sister Estrella died the following month due to burns.
An ambush on August 8, 2012 killed a boy and three soldiers from the 103rd Infantry Brigade inside the MSU property. Ten other soldiers were wounded in the attack staged by still unidentified gunmen. – Rappler.com