Cotabato vice mayor wounded in ambush PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 16:26

COTABATO CITY — Gunmen clad in Kevlar bulletproof vests and armed with rifles fitted with noise suppressors ambushed and wounded the vice mayor here who is chairman of the most dominant of all factions in the Moro National Liberation Front.

Vice Mayor Muslimin Sema, who was wounded in his right cheek, is now undergoing medication and attending doctors at the Notre Dame Hospital here declared him out of danger.

The 64-year-old Sema, along with his two escorts, were on their way home from a meeting somewhere in one of the barangays here when the ambushers, positioned at one side of the road about three blocks from his residence, opened fire at their vehicle.

Sema’s body guards managed to return fire, killing one of the ambushers and wounding another in a brief firefight.

Sr. Supt. Danny Reyes, director of the Cotabato City police, said investigators are now gathering information on the exact identities of the ambushers and their real motive for the attack.

Sema, while being treated at the emergency room of the hospital, told reporters he wants the National Bureau of Investigation, the central office of the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Criminal and Investigation and Detection Group to jointly investigate on the incident.

“Allah allowed this to happen to me for a purpose. I will consider this incident as something that happened because of Allah’s will,” Sema said.

One of the doctors who attended to Sema, former Cotabato City Health Officer Ibrahim Pangato, said the vice mayor was in stable condition, but that there is still a need for him to undergo CT scan to determine the extent of the injury he sustained.

“So far, based on the x-ray film, the bullet wound in his right cheek is not serious,” Pangato said.

Political leaders from across Maguindanao, among them Mayor Hadji Tucao Mastura of Sultan Kudarat,  and former Guindulungan Mayor Datu Antao
Midtimbang, were among the first to arrive at the hospital to express sympathy for the vice mayor.

Major Gen. Rey Ardo, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said he has requested for an Air Force helicopter to airlift Sema to a hospital in
Davao City if his doctors would allow so.

The 6th ID has dispatched 30 intelligence operatives to help identify the ambushers of Sema.

The wounded ambusher who was rushed to the Cotabato Regional Medical Center was identified as Zermin Abdullah, based on an identification card found in his wallet.

The newly-appointed officer-in-charge of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Mujiv Hataman, condemned the ambush of Sema and ordered the ARMM police to help investigate on the incident.

The Cotabato City police is operationally under the regional police office in Region 12, but the city is inside Maguindanao, a component province of ARMM. —Felix Ostrea