DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A progressive Moro group is urging the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to probe the deaths of the seven Tausug youths in Patikul, Sulu province who were mistaken by soldiers as Abu Sayyaf bandits. Civil society groups identified the victims as civilians contrary to the military’s earlier claim.
The slain Tausug youths were Makrub Jamak Diray, 22; Alfadar Jamak Diray, 18; Mijan Sabbiri Hairani, 24; Basirun Sabbiri Hairani, 20; Hissan Mulay Hamsan, 21; Salip Maknun Ajad Sakirin, 22; and Bennajar Asak Sabb, all residents of Barangay Tambang, Patikul, Sulu.
“We call upon the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the reported massacre of civilians in Patikul and the scores of human rights violations reported by Moro communities in the course of AFP’s anti-terror operations and Martial Law in Mindanao,” Jerome Succor Aba, national chairperson of Suara Bangsamoro said.
Aba said the seven slain Tausug youths were husbands of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in Patikul. This was confirmed by Alih Ayub and Fatma Salih, both members of civil society organizations based in the same province.
On Saturday, Suara Bangsamoro dispatched a team to assess the situation and interviewed the families of the victims. The group learned from the families that all seven victims were allowed by the military to harvest mangosteen fruits in Sitio Tubig Bato, Kabuntakas village in Patikul but ended up being gunned down by a group of Scout Rangers.
“There was an encounter between the Abu Sayyaf and the soldiers that day. While they were in Kabuntakas, Scout Rangers mistook the seven as ASG members and arrested them,” Aba said.
“The families said the victims were still alive in the hands of the military by noontime, but at around 5:00 in the afternoon, their lifeless bodies were delivered by the AFP to the local police station,” he added.
Aba said the youngest to be killed in the latest “killing spree” of the military was a high school student. “They have recently evacuated to Barangay Igasan evacuation center in Patikul.”
He stressed: “The AFP should be held accountable for this crime. This is not the first time that the AFP committed an atrocity against civilians while parading the victims as Abu Sayyaf bandits.”
In 2005, a family was massacred in Maimbong, Sulu including their children. The incident pushed then MNLF leader Ustadz Habier Malik to retaliate against the AFP in defense of their communities, according to Aba.
Suara said the government’s all-out war policy is “killing more and more of our Moro brothers and sisters.”
“We are enraged that to appease his Filipino soldiers, he would sacrifice the lives of Moro people by exonerating the perpetrators of the massacre and branding the victims as terrorists,” the group said. (davaotoday.com)