Military orders investigation on ambush slay of 6 soldiers PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 14:07

To prevent a repeat of the deadly Abu Sayyaf ambush which claimed the lives of one second lieuteunant and five enlisted troopers in Basilan Sunday, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang has ordered an investigation regarding the incident.

“We have directed the conduct of an investigation as to how that incident come about,” he said.

Catapang noted he is not saying who is at fault for the bloody encounter or whether there were tactical lapses in the engagement.

“We have sufficient forces (in Basilan) but we are giving that force a directive to have a more honest-to-goodness assessment as the (ambush incidents) are like a Harry Potter movie which has never ending story that every now and then the soldiers are ambushed so they lose the upper hand. So I want an honest-to-goodness assessment so that history will not keep repeating itself,” he pointed out.

The investigation will be headed by Western Mindanao Command head Lt. Gen.Rustico Guerrero.

The AFP chief added that the investigation will focus on how come these soldiers died and what are the circumstances and whether there are any intelligence lapses.

He declined to comment on the suggestions made by Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman that an all out offensive be made against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

“We cannot just say outrightly there is a need. I want to talk to the people of Basilan, to the province and maybe just like what we did in Jolo, we go there talk with the cause-oriented group, dialogue with them, ask them their sentiments, and how we can turnaround the situation from an area that is difficult into a Moro area that is peaceful and productive,” he stressed.

Initial reports indicated that the slain troopers from the 64th Infantry Battalion were ordered to secure the construction of the Basilan Circumferential Road project.

Catapang clarified that these troops were not conducting any offensive operations in Sulu when questioned on whether the Basilan attack was done as diversionary effort of the bandits to free some pressure on their comrades in the former province.

“I want to correct the impression that we are on an all-out offensive (in Sulu), what we are doing now is an all out law enforcement operations and then next week I think we already had a clearance to conduct the peace and economic and development summit. Next week we will go there, identify the projects, we’ll be having a meeting with the barangay captains, the mayors and the governor in Sulu,” Catapang stressed.

This effort is to show that the AFP is not only focused on military operations but community development ones as well, he added.