ZAMBOANGA CITY – A member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) was killed when Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits attacked a group of farmers in Sulu, military officials disclosed Tuesday.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the attack took place noontime Monday in Barangay Igasan, Patikul, Sulu.
Vinluan said the farmers were harvesting their farm produce when ASG bandits arrived and opened fire that resulted in the death of a BPAT member.
Brig. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, commander of the 1102nd Infantry Brigade, identified the slain BPAT member as Tali Lakibul.
Troops of the 6th Special Forces Battalion led by Lt. Col. Rafael Caido, in coordination with the BPAT members of Barangays Igasan and Kabbontakas, retrieved the victim’s body.
Caido said troops were deployed to establish a blockade position as a pursuit operation was launched against the bandits behind the attack.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the ASG bandits are anxious because Patikul residents have declared them persona non grata in the municipality “that is why they create havoc to demonstrate their power.”
The municipality of Patikul, headed by Mayor Kabir Hayudini, is the first town of Sulu to declare the ASG bandits as persona non grata.
The declaration was made on August 27 through a peace covenant.
“Rest assured that we will enforce the full force of the law to look for the perpetrators and bring justice to the innocent victim,” Gonzales added. (PNA)