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Bangsamoro officials vow thorough probe into vandalism of Basilan chapels
This satellite image shows Lamitan City in Basilan
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Bangsamoro officials vow thorough probe into vandalism of Basilan chapels

John Unson (Philstar.com) - February 18, 2021 - 10:12pm

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The Bangsamoro government on Thursday condemned the desecration of Catholic chapels in two barangays in Lamitan City in Basilan on the eve of Ash Wednesday.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, local government minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said the BARMM leadership was saddened by the attacks on the chapels in Barangays Santa Clara and Maganda in Lamitan City.

“This shall be investigated extensively,” Sinarimbo said Thursday.

Police Brig. Gen. Samuel Rodriguez, police director for the Bangsamoro region, said Thursday he has directed the Lamitan City police and the Basilan provincial police to conduct a joint inquiry on what seemed related incidents.

Personnel of the Lamitan City police are still clueless on who could have vandalized the two worship sites and the real motive for the attack.

Unidentified men reportedly used sledgehammers to destroying religious icons inside the chapels.

Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman, chairperson of the provincial peace and order council, said the provincial government will do all it can to hold the culprits accountable.

“I stand by my Christian constituents in their search for a closure on this incident,” Salliman said.

Salliman said his administration has enlisted the help of Muslim and Christian community elders in identifying the vandals who desecrated the two Catholic chapels.

“The Muslim and Christian communities in Basilan shall address this together as a community,” Salliman said.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. of the military’s Western Mindanao Command said he has directed Army’s 101st Infantry Brigade in Basilan to help the local police investigate on the incident.

“Military intelligence agents shall help the police determine the identities of the people behind it,” Vinluan said.

BASILAN LAMITAN CITY
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