Beng dispels rumors of terrorist attack in Recodo PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 May 2014 14:08

Mayor Beng Climaco has dispelled rumors of any terror attack in the city following the grenade explosion in Recodo that also triggered a firefight Saturday, May 2.

“We assure the public that the police and military authorities are on top of the situation, and together with the barangay officials of Recodo we will do everything possible to safeguard the interest of the majority of the people of Zamboanga,” Mayor Climaco said.

She said the incident was sparked by the ongoing land conflict between the Dacon Company and nearby residents of Recodo as a result of the latter’s move to construct a perimeter fence surrounding its premises.

The lady chief executive, however, said that city government together with the police and military had initiated series of consultations with the community leaders, barangay officials, and Dacon company officials since early March in an effort to find solutions to the problem.

“The parties have reached agreements on various demands, but negotiation on fence construction issue bogged down,” Climaco said, adding that the City Legal Office has advised the contesting party (affected Recodo residents) to hire a lawyer and bring the matter to court, considering that the issue does not fall within the purview of the city government. The land is a private property of the Dacon Company.

Nonetheless, Climaco said the city government had to mobilize its resources to assist those affected by the explosion, including the 120 families evacuated to the barangay’s covered court. “Their return to their homes will be based on the recommendation of the police and military authorities,” she explained.

As this developed, at least 39 members of the Special Civilian Armed Auxiliary (SCAA), a paramilitary unit under the Task Force Zamboanga (TFZ), were scheduled to undergo a paraffin test yesterday while their firearms were to be subjected to powder residue and ballistic examinations to determine whether or not they were involved in the grenade-throwing incident Saturday morning in Recodo.

This, as the Special Investigation Unit of the Zamboanga City Police Office has dispatched two probe teams to Recodo to gather testimonial and objective evidence on the incident that killed a teenage civilian and wounded 6 workers of the Dacon Plywood Company.

Sr. Supt. Angelito Casimiro, officer-in-charge of the ZCPO told a news conference in City Hall yesterday morning that after the grenade-throwing incident security measures have been tightened at the Dacon company premises with 80 security personnel—two teams from TFZ regular army soldiers and two teams from the Police Public Safety Company—now guarding the Dacon’s four container yards to prevent escalation of violence in the area.

To recall, the conflict started sometime in January this year when the Dacon management decided to construct a perimeter fence surrounding its premises as residential houses were encroaching on the road leading to the company.

The following month, Feb. 8, a riffle grenade was fired at the company, destroying one of its buildings. No one was injured.

Last May 1, a commotion ensued between the Dacon workers and the so-called informal settlers who barricaded the road using the children and women, some of them were injured.

On May 3, at 11:30 a.m., a grenade was lobbed and exploded outside the Dacon premises, killing Hamuddin Hamja, 19, and wounding 6 Dacon workers, 4 of them were SCAA members.

Wounded were Elmer Tadeo and Ariston Sarato, both Dacon workers, John Rey Maghanoy, Enrico Menor, Robert Clog and Loreto Morales, all SCAA members. — Vic Larato