Raps filed vs. Abus behind Eid massacre
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2014 - 6:43pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The local police in Talipao, Sulu will file on Monday afternoon charges of multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder, and multiple attempted murder against two Abu Sayyaf leaders and about 50 of its followers involved in the bloody Eid’l Fitr ambush, an official said.

Talipao police chief SPO4 Rudy Yusop said the case was a result of the investigation conducted by the Special Task Group and his office following the deadly ambush last July 28 at Sitio Lumapid, Barangay Lower Talipao that killed 23 civilians, mostly children and women, and wounded 14 others.

Yusop said the case will be filed before the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Sulu against Abu Sayyaf leader Iddang Susukan and Sibih Pisih and around 50 followers who were all identified by witnesses.

Yusop said the 39 victims aboard two jeepneys were on their way to celebrate the end of the fasting period of Ramadan to celebrate the Eid’l Fitr when they were ambushed by the group of Susukan and Pisih.

He said the investigation pointed to retaliation as the root cause of the ambush, as the group was against civilians in Talipao for assisting the government forces and the town’s civilian volunteers dubbed as the Barangay Peace Action Team (BPAT) in operations against the militants. 

“Talagang galit sila (Abu Sayyaf) sa mga residente dito dahil very supportive sila sa operations ng marines, civilian volunteers at police laban sa kanila,” Yusop said in a telephone interview as he was preparing to forward the case Monday afternoon.

Yusop dispelled reports about the conflict between the son of an Abu Sayyaf and BPAT member over a basketball game sometime in 2013 that triggered the bloody incident.

“No, it was not that incident because it happened last year but it was because of the continuous operations and they were angry at the civilians for providing information to the marines and BPAT,” Yusop said, citing the February encounter incident where six Abu Sayyaf members were killed and six BPAT members were wounded.

Meanwhile, pursuing operations have been ongoing as the military assisted the police forces in running after the ambushers, Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero of the Western Mindanao Command said. 

Guerrero said the military is also supporting the police in the investigation and filing of charges against the Abu Sayyaf.

He said there is a direct coordination between the 2nd Marine brigade and the provincial director of the Philippine National Police. They also have the support of Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz, current chief of the Sulu anti-kidnapping task force.

“We are moving in support of the law enforcement operation and stabilizing the area with the local police and military forces in Talipao,” Guerrero said.

He said part of the effort is to prevent civilians from retaliating against the innocent families of those Abu Sayyaf members involved in the ambush.

Guerrero said they have coordinated with the Sulu Provincial Peace and Order Council to prevent any retaliation by the surviving relatives of the victims. (Roel Pareño)

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