Death toll on Abu attack in Sulu: 23 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 14:59

The death toll in the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) attack against 50 civilians on Monday in Lower Talipao, Sulu is now at 23, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala announced on Tuesday.
Zagala said hot pursuit operations continue to bring the bandits to justice, adding this is part of the efforts to defuse tension and maintain law and order in Sulu.
However, Zagala did not give specifics on the additional two fatalities.
Western Mindanao Command figures Monday night placed the number of dead at 21 with eight critically wounded.
“(The AFP) with the Philippine National Police (PNP) will conduct continuous security operations, for one, we will continue our pursuit operations against the perpetrators and at the same time, we will conduct law enforcement operations to maintain the peace and to avoid further civilian deaths,” he added.
Zagala also declined to comment on whether there is failure on part of security forces covering Sulu.
“Actually, we have been continuously operating in Sulu for over a month now and that the security environment in Sulu remains a challenge not only for the AFP but for the PNP and for the community as well. We have very complex problems there that we need to address and we are doing our best,” he pointed out.
But despite successive gains in the peace and order front, Zagala said the military and the police still have a long way to go in changing the mindset of the community.
“We want to continuously work with the community so that we can prevent similar incidents in the future, however like I said earlier there are complexities in the conflict in the area so we cannot totally say that this incident is, results in failure of what we are doing but definitely this will not hamper our peace and developments efforts in the Province of Sulu,” he pointed out.
Capt. Rowena Muyuela, Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, earlier said the incident took place around 8:30 a.m. Monday as 40 civilians and 10 members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) were on their way to celebrate Hari Raya.
She added that the group were aboard two “Tamaraw” vans which was fired upon by a force of 50 ASG terrorists headed by Idang Susukan and Sibih Pisih.
Muyuela said that 16 persons were immediately killed and 13 others were wounded before the ASG fled.
The wounded civilians were immediately brought to IPHO Jolo for prompt medical attention after being initially given first aid by responding Marines.
Unfortunately, five more wounded victims died bringing the total number of killed to 21 Monday night, seven of which are males including a two-year-old boy and 14 females.
There were eight seriously wounded (two toddlers, five minors and one senior citizen) and three slightly wounded.
The Western Mindanao Command spokesperson said the motive for the ambush is a retaliatory action against the BPAT who is supporting the military and police in law enforcement operations in the province particularly against the ASG in Talipao. Earlier, reports said “rido,” or clan war, instigated the incident.