From InterAksyon (May 7): Army major, 1 other soldier, killed in Basilan ambush
Two soldiers, one of them an Army major, were killed Monday afternoon in an ambush staged by the Abu Sayyaf in Al Barka town, Basilan.
Colonel Carlito Galvez, commander of the Army's 104th Brigade, said about 180 soldiers from the 18th Infantry Battalion and civilians from the Office of the President were ambushed by about 30 Abu Sayyaf fighters in Sitio Pagtawanan, Barangay Magcawa at around 3 p.m.
Galvez said the soldiers and civilians were on their way to Barangay Bohe Piyang to distribute 20 goats to the community and check on projects of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process when gunmen led by Basir Kasaran and Musana Jamiri fired on them.
Major Alin Kannung, executive officer of the 32nd Infantry Battalion, and Technical Sergeant Ferdinand Costan were killed while four other soldiers of the 18th IB were also wounded.
"Government forces were subjected to mortar and sniper fires for three hours," Galvez said.
At least six of the extremist fighters were killed as reinforcements were rushed to the scene of the fighting.
Galvez said the ambush was possibly in retaliation for the April 15 military operation in Tipo-Tipo town in which eight Abu Sayyaf fighters were killed when their camp was overrun.
Kannung, said Galvez, has long been a target of the Abu Sayyaf because of his peace efforts in the province.
Aside from his stint in the 32nd IB, Kannung, 53, was also part of the monitoring team on the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
His body was brought to his home in Barangay Kalih in Al Barka.
The wounded soldiers were airlifted to Zamboanga City for medical treatment.
It was organized by the Zamboanga Peninsula Political Committee and 113th Base Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF). Various speakers were invited to talk on the contents and salient features of the FAB.
Mr. Nasrullah Muhammad, a representative from the Office of the First Vice- Chairman oriented the participants on the FAB. He said that, “it is better if every Bangsamoro individual can share the letter and intent of FAB and its essence to his/her brothers and sisters.
Ameer Jamah Mukaddam, Provincial Chairman of the Kalibugan Province challenged every municipal chairman and the different sectors to do their roles and fulfill their responsibilities by extending to many people the objectives of the FAB and its benefits to the people. He also added that, “it is of great importance that many people will be oriented and familiarized with the noble undertaking of advocating the Peace Agreement”.
“Dapat palakasin ng BIAF ang kanilang tungkulin bilang mga sundalo ng mga Bangsamoro. Dapat din nilang gawin ang nararapat bilang Mujahideen at iwasan ang mg hakbang na makasisira sa usaping pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng pamahalaan at ng MILF”, said Battalion Commander Maulana Mukaddam. (“The BIAF should strengthen their role as soldiers of the Bangsamoro and as Mujahideen they should avoid any act that may imperil the peace process between the government and the MILF, said Battalion Comdr. Maulana Mukaddam)
Malaysian IMT, Julkipli Hasim also shared his thoughts. He said that, “We must value the peace process in order to achieve lasting peace and so that development will take place especially in the Bangsamoro homelnd, Mindanao”.
Malik Abdul Karim, Deputy Chairman of Committee on Information said that, “We must avoid gossips and creating hearsays for they are obstructive to the peace process. We must all be optimistic so that we can achieve what we’ve been longing for: genuine peace, security, progress and achieve our rights to our own homeland”.
The advocacy served as an avenue to all the members for establishing rapport and camaraderie, thus, made everyone more committed on the realization of the Bangsamoro aspiration for sled-determination. The gathering finally ended with smiles and handshakes; the participants felt contented with what they heard and learned from the speakers. The organizers are contemplating to organize more advocacy programs so that more areas in the peninsular will become recipient of similar program.