ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 29, 2009) – Unidentified gunmen ambushed on Thursday a town mayor in the island of Basilan, one of six provinces under the restive Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao, officials said.
Officials said Al-Barka Mayor Karam Jakilan was killed when gunmen opened fire on his vehicle and that several of his aides were also wounded. Two of his aides were also killed and four more wounded in the attack near the village of Lagayas in Tipo-Tipo town.
Jakilan was returning to Al-Barka when he was ambushed.
"We are investigating the ambush and is looking into clan war as one of the motives in the killing of the mayor," said Chief Supt. Bensali Jabarani, the regional police chief.
He said he ordered police forces to hunt down the killers of Jakilan.
Marine Brig. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, commander of military forces on the island, said troops have been deployed to track down the assailants. "We still don't know who were behind the ambush, but we have troops tracking down the killers," he said.
The attack was believed connected to the earlier shooting of a village chieftain in Tipo-Tipo by one of Karam’s bodyguard.
Al-Barka is a known lair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf militants blamed for the killing of 14 soldiers, ten of them beheaded in July 2007. (Mindanao Examiner)