7 killed in Zambo Sibugay attacks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2011 01:01 AM | Updated as of Oct 21 2011 09:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Four soldiers and 3 policemen were killed in separate attacks in Zamboanga Sibugay Thursday, authorities said.

Four soldiers were killed and 6 injured in the first ambush incident by an undetermined number of alleged Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters that took place in Alicia town at 7:21 p.m.

Senior Superintendent Ruben Carriaga of Zamboanga Sibugay Philippine National Police (PNP) said the troops from the 102nd Infantry Battalion were onboard 2 M-35 trucks and 1 KM 45 mini-truck, and were on their way to their headquarters when they were attacked, resulting in the death of 4 soldiers.

An hour later, armed men attacked another truck carrying 6 soldiers and drums of gasoline in Ipil town. The driver of the truck was injured in the attack.

Then at around 10:45 p.m., 3 policemen were killed and 2 others were injured in an ambush by an unknown number of armed men in Kabasalan town.

The 20 policemen, led by Police Inspector Salvador Galvez, was conducting a mobile patrol along a national highway in Barangay Simbol when the ambush occurred.

The armed men outnumbered the policemen, resulting in the deaths of Police Inspector Rizaldy Calibugar, SPO1 Lito Arcenal and PO2 Lito Tayan.

PO1 Joel Capitania and Pfc. Hermes Sagario of the 53rd Infantry Battalion sustained injuries.

Two explosions were also reported in the towns of Imelda and Malangas on Thursday night. No one was reported hurt in the said explosions.

These incidents came in the wake of the combined attack of alleged Abu Sayyaf-MILF members in Al-Barka town, Basilan on Tuesday, which left 19 soldiers killed and 14 others injured.

Calls for suspension of ceasefire

Senator Panfilo Lacson has called on President Benigno Aquino III to suspend the ceasefire to allow the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to hunt down those responsible for the Basilan killings.

“It's time for PNoy to do an Erap. Peace in Mindanao cannot be achieved unless a tactical victory is attained first by the AFP,” Lacson said in a press statement.

Lacson said the violence in Mindanao is happening because the government has been allowing it.

“It is time to untie the hands of our soldiers and authorize them to fight the MILF on equal terms and not handicapped by the so-called peace talks characterized by treachery and deceit,” he said.

“It is odd that our territorial integrity is being threatened from within. There is only one Armed Forces of the Philippines under only one Commander-in-Chief. Any other armed group outside AFP and PNP and other law enforcement agencies must be treated as enemy of the state and should be treated as such under existing laws of the Republic,” he added.

Congressional Defense Committee chairman Rodolfo Biazon also joined the clamor of voices calling for the suspension of the ceasefire.

Biazon, a former Marine Commandant and Armed Forces chief, expressed dismay at the inability of government troops to go after those behind the killings.

Biazon added that he will talk to other lawmakers to push for a proposal seeking the suspension of peace talks.

'No all-out war'

President Aquino, meanwhile, earlier said that peace talks with the MILF would continue, saying no one benefits from an all-out war.

Although he expressed sadness and dismay at the death of the 19 soldiers, Aquino ruled out an all-out war against the MILF, noting that he would not judge the whole organization because of "one rotten egg."

The President said he will convene a command conference Friday afternoon to discuss the incident and determine what corrective measures would be undertaken to prevent such incident from happening again. - With reports from ABS-CBN David Santos, News Zamboanga; Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News