ZAMBOANGA CITY, Phlippines - The death toll in Saturday's attack by suspected Abu Sayyaf members in Maluso town has risen to 12, according to a Philippine National Police (PNP) official in Basilan.
Basilan provincial director Sr. Supt Tony Mendoza said 2 more victims who were brought to Zamboanga City for medical treatment died due to the injuries they suffered.
They included a 9-year-old boy, Jabrian Laping, who sustained second-degree burns, and Talib Sakkam, 50 years old.
Authorities also reported at least 13 persons were injured, including those still confined at the Zamboanga City Medical Center. The rest have been discharged from the hospital in Basilan.
Mendoza said operations to capture perpetrators of the attack are still going on.
Regional director for Department of Health in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Dr. Jojo Sinolinding told ABS-CBN Zamboanga over the phone that he has already sent a “disaster team” to conduct a psycho-social briefing for the victims’ relatives.
He said that the debriefing is to assess the trauma and help the residents in Barangay Tubigan recover from the incident. Personal grudge was seen to be the reason behind the attack.
Suspected Abu Sayyaf group members burned down houses and fired at villagers during an attack in a town in Basilan province before dawn Saturday, leaving at least 10 dead.
Senior Superintendent Antonio Mendoza, Basilan provincial police director, said at least 70 gunmen, believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group and former Moro Islamic Liberation Front members, raided Barangay Tubigan in Maluso town around 5:30 a.m..
The bandits burned down at least 5 houses and fired indiscriminately at the villagers and then quickly fled.
Among the fatalities were a 1-year-old baby, Karen Bucoy, 9-year-old Arjie Bucoy, and Abigail Bucoy, 32, whose charred bodies were recovered from their gutted house.
The regional police office in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said the bandits were led by Abu Sayyaf commander Puriji Indama.
Mendoza said the attack was motivated by Indama's personal grudge with the village's chieftain.