Husband of Suara Leader in Maguindanao Killed

May. 07, 2007

Killing followed harassment of Suara Bangsamoro’s volunteers in Davao del Sur.

DAVAO CITY — The husband of a leader of the Moro partylist group, Suara Bangsamoro, was shot dead this morning by three unidentified men in Pikit town, North Cotabato, the Philippines.

Usman Ali, 40, was shot in the back of his head while at a public market in Pikit, said Suara partylist nominee Amira Lidasan .

Ali was an acting principal of the Dunguan Elementary School in Pagalungan. His wife Babai Ali, 43, is a leader of the Pagalungan chapter of Suara Bangsamoro.

Lidasan said many members and leaders of Suara are affected by the incident. Suara’s Pagalungan chapter, Lidasan said, is one of Suara’s strongest chapters. She said evacuation has also started over reports that soldiers have began entering the area.

The killing of Ali came a day after Suara’s headquarter’s in Poblacion, Malita, in Davao del Sur, was raided by elements of the 66th Infantry Battalion.

Six soldiers led by a certain Lt. Payumo of the 66th IB reportedly barged into the headquarters of Suara at around 4 p.m and held two of Suara volunteers for an hour and a half of interrogation.

The two volunteers are Arnel Soliman, coordinator of Davao del Sur district two, and Nestor Sobricarey, who is a volunteer from the same province.

Zaynab Ampatuan, chair and first nominee of Suara, said the soldiers repeatedly asked Soliman and Sobricarey who the Suara leaders are and why the party list group is campaigning in Malita. They also took pictures of the two victims while interrogating them.

Ampatuan said before leaving, the soldiers took Suara’s flags and destroyed campaign posters. They also warned the two to stop campaigning for Suara and other allied party lists that they alleged are fronts of the New Peoples’ Army.

Ampatuan said this action of the 66th IB betrays the statements of AFP Chief of Staff Hermogenes Ebdane that the military would stay away from politics in this 2007 election.

“This harassment is part of the ongoing campaign by the military and the government to discredit and destroy progressive party lists. However, this only serves to strengthen the perception that the government is truly desperate and scared of the strength of the partylists that it will resort to harassment, black propaganda and fraud,” she said. (Cheryll D. Fiel/

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