Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

CHD: "Family feud sparked Sulu carnage"

By Ed General

The Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) said the February 4 carnage in Maimbung town, Sulu was an offshoot of a feud between two families.

In a final report covering its fact-finding mission in the village of Ipil, the CHD, an independent group working for prevention of conflict in various parts of the world, said Tuesday that soldiers have indeed killed the eight victims, including two children and a pregnant woman.
The CHD showed the report to the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Wednesday.

It however said that the soldiers were unwittingly used by one of the parties in the purported feud.

The CHD, which has a satellite office here, said it found out that the military was using a member of the Ibla family as an asset in efforts to locate kidnapped Jolo businesswoman Rosalie Lao.
CHD said the asset, whose family has an existing feud with the Lahim family of Ipil, had told the military that Lao, who was snatched last month, was being kept in the village.

"The asset (even) joined the (Navy's Special Warfare Action Group) and (Light Reaction Company) elements during the operation. Although wearing a full head bonnet covering his face, (he) was identified by the residents of this community as being a certain Muksan, a member of the Ibla family from the neighboring barangay (village), with whom the Lahim family from Barangay Ipil has a long-drawn family feud," the CHD report reads.

The group said it remained unclear as to who killed the two members of the raiding troops.
"There are however possibilities that the soldiers were shot by civilians, who kept arms in their houses for defensive purposes; or worse, that the SWAG and the LRC engaged in friendly fire," the CHD said.

Earlier, Governor Abdusakur Tan said he received information that the two members of the raiding troops died when the SWAG and the LRC mistook each other for the enemy.

Alfadar Pajiji, CHD consultant, said what was clear was that the Ibla family used the military to extract vengeance on the Lahim family.

"(The soldiers) must be made answerable for the indiscriminate firing on civilians that have resulted in the death, extrajudicial killing, and massacre of innocent civilians, including women and children, and the divestment of properties belonging to the residents of Barangay Ipil, including theft arson, and damages to property," the CHD recommended.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) made a similar recommendation but added that while the soldiers involved in the carnage should be punished, the military commander in-charge of the entire operation should also be made answerable under the dictum of command responsibility.

Major General Reuben Rafael, head of the anti-terror Task Force Comet, is the overall military commander in Sulu.

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