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Killings prompt plea to Philippines military

Bishop urges army to take action against armed bandits in ’wild west’

Killings prompt plea to Philippines military
Bishop Martin Jumoad
A bishop in the southern Philippine province of Basilan today denounced the killing of five people and the wounding of another in the town of Hadji Muhammad Adjul yesterday.

“I am really sad and frustrated,” said Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad. “Again, I’m asking the military – the men and women in uniform - to really protect the civilians. And one way of doing that would be to really disarm the civilians carrying guns in the province.”

A military spokesman said the victims were selling foam rubber mattresses in a village when they were attacked yesterday afternoon.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said he was treating the assailants who were robbers.

Cabangbang named the dead as Nestor Bagares, Allan Bagares, and William Tecson, all of Misamis Oriental; Ajanulla Talib, of Basilan and Samuel Gumanan, of Pagadian City. The injured were Alexander Balaba, of Misamis Oriental.

It was not immediately clear if the suspects were affiliated to any group. A number of armed groups are known to operate in Basilan, including the bandit group Abu Sayyaf responsible for a string bombings, kidnappings and other criminal activities.

Bishop Jumoad has been vocal in denouncing violence in the province, which the media has dubbed the Philippines’ “wild west” due to rampant abductions and killings of priests, nuns, tourists and residents.

Jumoad himself said he fears for his life and that faith is the only thing that keeps him going.

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