Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sayyaf attacks victims buried in Basilan province

A young man walks past an area where an Abu Sayyaf bomb was detonated by authorities Philippine authorities in Isabela City in the Muslim province of Basilan where militants detonate two improvised explosives and opened fire on innocent civilians that left 14 people dead. Four of those killed were buried Saturday, April 18, 2010. Ferry passengers who came from Zamboanga City return to Basilan province. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / April 18, 2010) – Four civilians killed in an Abu Sayyaf attack in the Muslim province of Basilan in the southern Philippines had been laid to rest, but public outrage over the failure of authorities to prevent terrorism is steadily growing.

The four were buried over the weekend in Isabela City where militants detonated bombs and fired at fleeing civilians last week. The attacks triggered a firefight with soldiers that left 14 people dead.

Family members of those buried wore black shirt with markings “No Order,” which refers 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.

Other 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 told the Mindanao Examiner.

But 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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