Wednesday Sep, 30 2020 03:21:50 PM

Catholic bloc wants impartial probe on sensational Kabacan carnage

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 10:00 AM Tue Sep 1, 2020
John M. Unson

COTABATO CITY --- The Catholic community in North Cotabato province appealed for an impartial probe on what seemed as a gangland-style execution of nine Moro motorists in Kabacan town Saturday.

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of the Diocese of Kidapawan covering Cotabato province said Tuesday he supports the call of central Mindanao sectors for an impartial investigation on the incident.

The victims of the gruesome attack, Kors Salilangan, Sandigan Zailon, Benladin Dimanalao, Musaid Jaiden, Romeo Balatamay, Katindig Kagayawon, Fahad Mandigan, Budsal Lipusan and Tong Guiaman, died from multiple bullet wounds. 

Barangay leaders told reporters the ethnic Maguindanaon motorcycle riders were flagged down by still unidentified men while motoring through a secluded area in the sprawling campus of the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan and shot one after another with assault rifles.

Eight were killed on the spot while the ninth victim, Guiaman, perished in a hospital several hours later. 

Bagaforo, North Cotabato’s Catholic parochial figurehead, also called on Kabacan residents to keep calm and give authorities enough time to identify and prosecute the real culprits. 

“Let us pray for peace. We ask all our leaders, regardless of religions and tribal identities, to work together in putting a closure to this incident,” Bagaforo said.

Col. Henry Villar, director of the North Cotabato provincial police, organized last Monday a special investigation task group, or SITG, to identify the gunmen responsible for the deaths of the nine Moro motorists.

Villar said the SITG shall be composed of representatives from his office, the Kabacan local government unit, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the municipal police station.

“We support all peaceful efforts to solve this case,” Bagaforo said.

North Cotabato Gov, Nancy Catamco, chairperson of the provincial peace and order council, also urged for an extensive probe on the gruesome incident.

Catamco said she will flex her authority in helping the police identify the killers of the nine men for proper prosecution. 

“Meantime, I am appealing to all sectors in the province to avoid speculating on the incident while an investigation is still underway. Let us all remain sober as we face this security challenge,” Catamco said. 


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