Tongkil man’s reaction to news story: ‘How can we burn our own houses’ PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:26

The principal complainant against Mayor Wahid Sahidulla of Tongkil, Sulu for the case of arson strongly contradicted a news story quoting a police report alluding to him and his companions as the ones responsible for the burning of the houses as an aftermath of an armed attack in a barangay of the town that took place in 2007.

“How can we attack Barangay Sigumbal (in Tongkil, Sulu) when in fact it is our home place where our families live and where our houses and properties are located,” Hadji Ridwan Omar said in response to a news story published in a local newspaper (with online edition) on January 21, 2013.

“How could we have the courage to burn our own houses and destroy our own properties?” he said.

Omar stood firm in his accusation that it was allegedly the mayor’s armed group numbering about 200 and reportedly even policemen loyal to the mayor who perpetrated the armed attack on Sigumbal in April 9, 2007. “My uncle Adam Abduhalim was even killed in that incident,” Omar said.

Omar and his companions have filed a complaint against Mayor Sahidulla of Tongkil (Banguingi), Sulu which the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in this city has docketed under No. XIV-07-121-00152 for arson. The mayor was given ten days to answer the allegations, but which was extended for another 10 days on the request for time by the mayor to submit his reply to the charges.

Complainant Omar also cited as true, the reported police account of forced evacuation of residents from Sigumbal at the height of the incident in 2007 “because we were among those who fled to safe areas while fleeing our burning barangay,” he said, adding: “But we did not attack or burn our own place of residence.”

“In fact, until now, we, and the other affected families (allegedly) numbering about 1,000 persons are still displaced and have not returned to our homes in Barangay Sigumbal for fear of continued harassment,” he said.

“We are again asking the intervention of the NBI, CIDG, DILG, CHR and other law enforcement agencies to conduct a thorough and extensive investigation and inspection of Barangay Sigumbal, Omar pleaded.