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Nation

Cotobato City Shootouts: ‘No cause for alarm over reprisals’

- John Unson -
COTABATO CITY — This city’s peace and order council is confident it can peacefully settle whatever differences may arise between two families involved in two shootouts here last Saturday night that left five people dead.

Mayor Muslimin Sema, who chairs the council, said the family of Maguindanao Gov. Datu Andal Am—patuan, whose son Hofer was among the fatalities, has assured him that they have "accepted (Hofer’s) fate and that there is no cause for alarm whatsoever."

Sema quoted Mayor Datu Saudi Ampatuan of Datu Piang, Maguindanao, Hofer’s older brother, as saying that their family has accepted his sibling’s death as a "tragic accident" and not an affront to their clan.

Despite the assurances, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division has deployed its men to strategic spots in the city to defuse the tension arising from last Saturday’s bloodbath.

The violent incident reportedly started when Hofer’s wife, Bai Ingrid, figured in a heated argument with another group during a bikini competition at the Pacific Heights Hotel here.

The verbal tussle triggered a firefight, resulting in the deaths of Hofer and two spectators, Jerry Adalin and Marlyn Chi.

Hofer, who was shot in the abdomen, died while being treated at the Cotabato Regional Medical Center (CRMC).

As members of the Ampatuan and Adalin clans arrived at the hospital, unidentified gunmen opened fire on Jerry’s father, Magno, a former three-term city councilor, and his nephew, Nelson, a barangay official here, killing them both on the spot.

The tension at the CRMC waned only after the Ampatuans brought out Hofer’s body to ferry it to their hometown of Shariff Aguak, the capital of Maguindanao, 54 kilometers southwest of this city. Hofer was buried the following day as Muslim tradition dictates.

"It was a very sad and unfortunate incident because some members of the Ampatuan and Adalin (families) are long-time friends," said engineer Norie Unas, Maguindanao provincial administrator and spokesman.

Senior Superintendent Sangacala Dampac, city police chief, said investigators found several slugs and empty shells from 9mm and caliber .45 pistols at the scenes of the shootouts.

Magno Adalin, who was killed in the shootout at the CRMC compound, had always carried a Glock 9mm, while Hofer had a heavily customized Colt .45 pistol.

Maguindanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen, whose congressional district covers the 37 barangays here, said the whole city should be placed under "full military control" to prevent more killings.

"If the police are helpless in maintaining peace and order in the city, let the military help them," Dilangalen said in an interview with Catholic radio station dxMS here yesterday.

Sema, however, said Dilangalen’s suggestion was "irresponsible, premature, insensitive."

vuukle comment

AMPATUAN AND ADALIN

BAI INGRID

CITY

COTABATO REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER

DATU ANDAL AM

DIDAGEN DILANGALEN

DILANGALEN

HOFER

INFANTRY DIVISION

MAGUINDANAO

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