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Kabacan massacre deaths rise to 9; BARMM vows independent probe

Kabacan massacre deaths rise to 9; BARMM vows independent probe

COTABATO CITY —Saturday's Kabacan massacre fatalities rose to nine on Sunday after the lone survivor died in the hospital from severe wounds, the police said. 

Kabacan police said that after fighting for his life, the lone survivor of the mass killing died hours after the incident, raising the death toll to nine.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) government also condemned the killings even as it vowed to seek an independent investigation into the massacre-style murders of nine all-male motorists.

“These senseless violent acts has no place in a progressive society, especially at a time when people are in the grip of a global pandemic,” the BARMM said.

“Although the unfortunate incident happened outside our area of jurisdiction, all of the victims are identified as Bangsamoros,” the statement added.

The new autonomous government (BARMM) is led by the forerunners of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) before a peace deal was signed and handed over to the new government from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with expanded territories including the 53 villages of North Cotabato.

“This again, reminds us of the dark period in our [not-so-distant] past, when the Bangsamoro people were besieged and beleaguered in their very own ancestral homeland, by forces who are privileged with impunity and assured of unbridled movement in the senseless and brutal murder of unarmed civilians,” BARMM Executive Secretary Abdulraof “ Sammy Al Mansoor” Macacua was quoted in the statement.

Macacua is the head of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) before they joined the government.

“BIAF seeks to reassure our people and communities that your combatants are still here.  That we continue to abide by the peace process.  We will not tolerate the reemergence of violence and hostilities against unarmed Bangsamoro in their defenseless communities.  We have assured our people and communities that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro will provide them peace, security and prosperity," the statement added.

Deputy minority floor leader, Attorney Suharto “Teng” Ambolodto  of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority also condemned that killings.

“Nothing good ever comes out of brutality as it only creates huge havoc and division in our nation. Let us desist the culture of violence and strive to live in a better world of unity and harmony”, the statement also quoted Ambolodto as saying.

“We call upon the government, the security forces and the National Bureau of Investigation to take rigid and swift action against the people behind this scheme and to conduct an even-handed and unbiased investigation while hoping that the pursuit operations will yield positive results,” he added.

Survivor dies 

Police Major Peter Pinalgan Jr., Kabacan town police chief, said Tong Guiaman, 30, married and a resident Buluan, Kabacan, Cotabato expired at past 4 p.m. while undergoing medication at a private hospital.

Pinalgan said eight of the victims died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds in the head and body after they were strafed while standing beside their motorcycles  along Aringgay Road, near the state-run University of Southern Mindanao campus.

“They were allegedly ordered to stop by unidentified armed men,  and when they all alighted from their respective motorcycles they were shot several times,” Pinalgan said.

He said the suspects used high-powered firearms such as M-16 Armalite rifle, Carbine rifle, and cal. 45 pistol based on the empty shells found in the crime scene.

Witnesses said, the unidentified suspects fled towards direction of Barangay Aringay, Kabacan, Cotabato after the incident.

Scene of the crime operatives found 32 empty shells for firearms of various types.

Pinalgan said that investigation continues for the motive and identities of the assailants.

He identified the fatalities as:

  1. Kons Kalilangan, 35 years old, married, farmer and resident of Aringay, Kabacan, Cotabato,
  2. Saganding Sailon, 30 years old, farmer and resident of Osias, kabacan, Cotabato,
  3. Benladin Dimanalao, 25 years old, single, farmer and resident of Aleosan, Cotabato,
  4. Jaiden Musaid, 25 years old, farmer and resident of Midsayap, Cotabato,
  5. Romeo Balatamay, 35 years old, married, driver and resident of Aringay, Kabacan, Cotabato,
  6. Katindig Kagayawon, 25 years old, farmer and resident of Buluan, Kabacan, Cotabato,
  7. Fahad Mandigan, 30 years old, married, farmer resident of Sitio Agpa, Kayaga, Kabacan, Cotabato,
  8. Budsal Jakaria Lipusin, 37 years old, married, farmer resident of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao (fatal) and
  9. Tong Guiaman, 30 years old, married and resident Buluan, Kabacan, Cotabato (wounded and later expired).

Teams from the Bangsamoro government led by Board Member Kelly Antao, the caretaker leader of the Bangsamoro government for the 53 villages now under the Bangsamoro government, have called for an emergency meeting on Sunday for the conduct of an independent investigation.

There was no clear motive yet on the killings.

However, what's clear is, at least five armed men flagged down the victims and bursts of gunfire followed --killing instantly eight of victims on six motorcycles, the police said.  —LBG, GMA News