Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Captured Sayyaf militant dies in military custody in Mindanao

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / April 21, 2010) – One of two captured Abu Sayyaf militants tagged as among those behind twin bombings in Basilan province in Mindanao had died from his wounds at a local military hospital, officials said Wednesday.

Officials said Umbar, who was wounded in a firefight with troops last week, died late Tuesday in hospital at the military’s Western Mindanao Command headquarters.

“An Abu Sayyaf member captured by government troops after the attack in Isabela City in Basilan died of cardio respiratory arrest secondary to sepsis due to his infected wounds,” said First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a regional military spokeswoman.

She said the body of the militant was handed over to an imam and buried in a coastal village called Caragasan, west of Zamboanga City.

Cacho said another militant, Ajib Hainal, who was also wounded in the fighting and captured by the military in Basilan province, would soon be handed over to the police.

“Hainal is ready for release to the police,” she said.

Police have filed criminal charges against more than a dozen militants blamed for the deadly attacks April 13 in Isabela City where the Abu Sayyaf detonated bombs and opened fire on fleeing civilians. It said 14 people were killed in the violence.

Relatives of civilians killed in the attacks blamed police and military for their failure to prevent terrorism and public outrage is steadily growing.

Family members of those killed in the Abu Sayyaf attacks wore black shirts with markings “No Order” during the burial of four victims over the weekend – referring to the unstable peace and order condition in Basilan, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region, wrecked by clan war and terrorism and kidnappings for ransom.

Others carried streamers: “Game of the Generals,” “Give justice to the victims” and Justice of Tubigan massacre.” Tubigan is a village in Isabela City where militants opened fire on innocent civilians as they flee from pursuing government troops.

“I am from Isabela City and I really cannot understand why it took the military and the police so long to react on the attacks. The attackers were just walking in the village as they opened fire on hapless and innocent civilians.”

“They even shot and killed one policeman, took his weapon and chopped off his hand and this happened 30 minutes after the bombing and they continued their killing spree,” one woman said.

Many residents also blamed the failure of government officials who allegedly spend more time in vacation in Manila rather in the province and attend to the needs of their constituents and some only reports to sign important documents or collect their salaries.

Isabela, one of two largely Christian cities in Basilan, is host to a military camp and a police base, but the province is also a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf group and Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels, which were blamed in previous attacks and kidnappings.

Basilan had been attacked many times in the past by the Abu Sayyaf and Moro rebels and security problems still remain the same and military and police authorities also failed to improve the peace and order situation. (Mindanao Examiner)

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