15 fishermen massacred in Basilan sea PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 13:58

Fifteen fishermen from Zamboanga del Sur were massacred off Sibago Island, Mohammad Adjul Municipality, Basilan last Monday morning.

A police report disclosed that 18 fishermen from San Pablo municipality, Zamboanga del Sur, were aboard three mini fishing boats locally known as “Palakaya”, when a group of armed men believed to be pirates aboard three pumpboats appeared and held them at gunpoint around 7 a.m.

The report said the gunmen tied the fishermen started firing at them at close range.

In the first Palakaya, seven fishermen were aboard and all of them were killed. In the second Palakaya, five of eight fishermen aboard were killed while three were wounded. On the third Palakaya, three were shot dead and one was wounded.

Jerome Lunsol, 22, the wounded victim in the third Palakaya, sustained a bullet wound in the head and was taken to the Zamboanga City Medical Center.
Residents and other fishermen in the area assisted Lunsol and turned him over to the authorities who took him to the hospital.

Mutalib Joaquino, a fish broker and financier of the victims, told newsmen that the 18 fishermen delivered him their catch last Tuesday then returned to sea for another fishing venture.

Joaquino said he was informed that two survivors have already returned to their hometown in Zamboanga del Sur while four bodies have been retrieved by authorities.

Joaquino has been buying fish and fnancing the fishing operations of the 18 fishermen for several years.

He related that the fishermen stay in the sea from three to five days before they would deliver their catch to him at the local waterfront market here.
Joaquino described the victims as small-time and belonging to poor families in San Pablo.

DZT gathered that the victims had already been warned by the armed group last year not to carry out their fishing operations in Mohammad Adjul sea territory. — Dan Toribio Jr.