Three people are killed in a shootout Friday, June 19, 2009 at a busy market in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines. Officials say one of four gunmen opened fire on Malik Akbar, the village chieftain of Muti and his aide Gani at the Santa Cruz market. The attack also left 3 civilians wounded. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Jung Francisco)
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 19, 2009) – Three people were killed in a shootout Friday at a busy market in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines, officials said.
Officials said one of four gunmen opened fire on village chieftain of Muti, Malik Akbar, and his aide after having lunch at the Santa Cruz market. The attack also left 3 civilians wounded.
Army soldiers who were in the area responded to the shooting and killed the attackers in the exchange of fire, but the second gunman was able to escape.
“We were eating lunch when we heard the shooting and saw the man still firing and we engaged him in a running gun battle,” one soldier, who is a member of the local anti-terror task force, told reporters.
Akbar’s daughter who was also with him said she saw the gunman get off the motorcycle and shot her father. “I saw him pulled out his gun and shot my father without provocation. My father was unarmed,” she said.
Police said it is still investigating the motive of the attack. “We are still investigating this incident. Three people are dead and three others wounded,” said Inspector Joel Tutuh.
Police chief Mario Yanga said they have identified the slain gunman as Zapanta Perez. “We have reports that the gunmen were in two motorcycles,” he said.
The motive of the attack is still unknown, but Akbar’s son, Memet Akbar, was arrested last month after police implicated him in the kidnap-slay of a local farm owner, Doroteo Gonzales. The young Akbar denied the charges against him.
Gonzales, 61, was snatched from his house on April 25 in the village of Buenavista in Zamboanga City and brought to Basilan by his captors. He was beheaded last month after his family failed to pay ransom. His body was not found.
It was unknown if the killing of the village leader was connected to the slaying of Gonzales. (With reports from Jung Francisco and Jonathan Deles)