By Ali G. Macabalang
PIKIT, North Cotabato
Three of four suspects in the October 9 killing of four family members and wounding of four others in Barangay Lagunde here have been captured in a joint operation of the local police, military, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Capt. Mautin Pangandigan, Pikit Police Station chief, identified the arrested suspects as Abdul Amer Mamalo, 29; Nasser Noh Ali, 30; and Salahudin Nando Noh, 21.
Published reports said all three arrested suspects belong to the MILF 118th Base Command and residents of Sitio Kadingilan in Barangay Lagunde here.
The arrest came a day after the suspects allegedly barged into the house of the Abdullah family at Sitio Tugunan of Barangay Lagunde, and shot at occupants one after another, using M-16 assault rifles, initial investigation showed.
Four of the occupants – named as Sittie Alipolo Abdullah, 58; Zenaida Abdullah Mustapha, 36; Laga Abdullah 34; and a three-year-old girl – were killed instantly.
The attack also wounded four other occupants identified as Asria Abdulrajak Abdullah, 30, and three minors aged 13, eight, and seven, published reports showed.
One of the survivors positively identified the perpetrators when interviewed by probers at a local hospital, according to Chief Pangandingan.
When arrested, suspect Mamalo admitted his role in the attack, the town police chief said, adding that the attack was motivated by “personal grudge.”
The survivor-informant and other witnesses pointed to Mamalo as the triggerman in the incident.
The arrested suspects were detained at the police custodial facility here pending filing of formal charges, he said.
Pangandigan acknowledged the efforts of North Cotabato Board Member Dulia D. Sultan, the Army’s 90th Infantry Battalion Alpha Company, and the MILF leadership that led to the arrest of the suspects.
He did not identify the fourth suspect at large, saying pursuit operations were still underway.
Meanwhile, officials of the Bangsamoro autonomous government and the MILF circle expressed optimism this week for the dispensation of justice in the August 29 massacre of nine Moro male “farmers” in Kabacan, North Cotabato.
Abdulraof Macacua, autonomous government’s executive secretary and chief of staff of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), said the BARMM’s investigation committee led by Public Order and Safety Minister Hussein Muñoz had already submitted its probe report.
Macacua, interviewed by phone on Oct. 12 by the Philippine Muslim Today, said they were waiting for the filing of formal charges against suspects in the massacre.
Interrupted by low signal, Macacua’s interview mentioned the National Bureau of Investigation was among entities inclined to lodge the indictment.
One of the nine fatalities, before expiring at a hospital, told relatives that their assailants were policemen. Workers of the Commission on Human Rights in Region XII had interviewed the bereaved relatives on the “dying statement” of the victim. (AGM)