Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Motorcycle Gunmen Kill Civilian In Jolo Island

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 27 Jun) Motorcycle gunmen attacked and killed a 28-year old Muslim man in the southern Filipino island of Jolo, where security forces are fighting members of the Abu Sayyaf group tied to Jemaah Islamiya, a regional military spokesman said.

Air Force Captain Jose Ritche Pabilonia said at least 6 gunmen in three motorcycles were involved in the attack that killed Fauzi Araji in downtown Jolo at the weekend. "The victim was shot with .45-caliber pistol and did not reach the hospital alive. Authorities are investigating this matter," he told the Zamboanga Journal.

Little was known about the man or why he was killed, but the spate of attacks on civilians on the island the past months have been largely blamed to the break down of peace and order and the proliferation of illegal weapons in the hands of the private armies of politicians, rebels and Abu Sayyaf militants.

The absence of governance, corruption and habitual travel of local town officials to Manila or abroad have add up to the worsening situation in the dangerous island of Jolo, about 950 km from Manila, where troops are battling the Abu Sayyaf and renegade members of the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front.

Kidnappings-for-ransom, largely blamed by authorities to the Abu Sayyaf, and clan war are also rampant in Jolo.

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