Climaco orders police: Probe motive in Al-Qarni shooting PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 March 2016 13:27

By VIC LARATO

Mayor Beng Climaco yesterday ordered the local police to conduct a thorough investigation into the motive of the young man who repeatedly shot and injured a Saudi Islamic scholar and his embassy official companion after a speaking engagement Tuesday night at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU).

Climaco gave the order specifically to OIC-city police director Supt. Luisito Magnaye and Task Force Zamboanga commander Col. Juvymax Uy during the City Peace and Order Council meeting yesterday morning.

“Dr. Al-Qarni and his companion came in peace. It was just unfortunate that the incident happened in Zamboanga City. What happened was purely a law enforcement function, and a challenge as well for the police to establish the motive of the gunman,” Climaco said in statement.

The mayor and the CPOC members were one in saying that the incident was an isolated case (nothing to do with anything and anybody) based on initial investigation.

The CPOC has given the police 30 days or one month period within which to conduct a thorough investigation and submit a report to the chief executive.

As far as the city government is concerned, Climaco said she has instructed City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer Dr. Elmeir Apolinario and Dr. Rodel Agbulos, city health officer, to extend whatever assistance to the victims—Dr. Al-Qarni and Sheik Assaegh.

Both are in stable condition and preparations are made for their early airlift back to Manila.

Initially, she said five bags of blood were provided for the five-hour operation of Dr. Al-Qarni at Zamboanga Peninsula Hospital.

Supt. Luisito Magnaye, officer-in-charge of the ZCPO, told the City Peace and Order Council in a meeting yesterday morning that they have yet to establish the motive behind the attempt on the lives of Dr. A’id Al-Qarni, a world renowned Islamic scholar cum-preacher, and his companion Sheik Turki Assaegh, a religious attaché of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Manila.

The gunman identified as Misuari K. Rugasan III, a 5th year electrical engineering student of WMSU and a resident of Tumaga Porcentro, was in turn shot dead by one of Al’Qarni’s close-in security escorts.

The responding policemen have arrested two  of the suspect’s alleged companions—Junaide Cadir, 36, of Barangay Taguiti, east of this city, and Mujer Abubakar Amilasan, 31, a pedicab driver, of Sta. Barbara.

Magnaye said proper security measures were accorded to the visiting Arab nationals upon the request of the Ulama Council of Zamboanga Peninsula, which invited Dr. Al-Qarni, author of the bestselling book “Don’t Be Sad,” to speak at a symposium at the WMSU gym.

He said the police had assigned 34 uniformed personnel and 10 covert security men, excluding the visitors’ close-in escorts, personnel from the Regional Public Safety Battalion, and the regular beat patrols in the vicinity.

“Everything was in place from the time the visitors arrived at 4 p.m. to 8:20 p.m. when the incident occurred,” the OIC-city police director said.

Investigation showed that after his talk, Dr. Al-Qarni left the WMSU gym to attend a dinner meeting with the UCZP officials at Garden Orchid Hotel.

Dr. Al-Qarni was on the front seat of his car when the gunman appeared from nowhere and shot him repeatedly just before the car could leave out of the university campus.

It was also recommended that henceforth proper protocols should be drafted and strictly observed when foreigners are coming to Zamboanga for scholarly engagements.

At least one week prior notice should be given to the local government unit so that proper coordination can be made for the protection of the visitors themselves.

Apparently, the Al-Qarni event at WMSU was not directly coordinated with the city government, as the trail of documents pointed only to the requests for security personnel.

Meanwhile, the UCZP has issued as well its own statement, condemning what it termed as dastardly act against the man of peace, and urging the authorities to conduct an impartial investigation into the incident so that justice can be served to the victims the soonest time possible.

The UCZP likewise has called on the people to calm down, observe sobriety and solidarity in the face of what had happened. It also formed its own Task Force Dr. Al-Qarni.

However, Mayor Climaco has directed the police’s SITG Al-Qarni and UCZP’s TF Dr. Al-Qarni to merge, coordinate and complement each other in the investigation through information sharing. — Vic Larato