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PIA Press Release
2008/08/19

2 civilians killed, 1 wounded in MILF attack in Sarangani

Maasim, Sarangani (19 August) -- Governor Migs Dominguez condemned as "criminal act" the attack of rogue elements in Maasim poblacion early today that killed two civilians and wounded another.

Suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces ransacked a pawnshop and drugstore in the public market as they simultaneously attacked the town police station starting 1:50 am. They carted away a video camera, assorted jewelry and medical supplies, according to an initial police report.

The armed men surrounded and fired at the police station, which is beside the municipal hall. "We had to defend," said Police Senior Inspector Joffel Remudaro, town chief of police.

repulsed the attackers in a firefight that lasted 30 minutes.

Remudaro said the police recovered two rounds of unexploded RPG (Rifle Propelled Grenade) shells. One was at the police station fence. "May isang rifle grenade pumasok sa station pero di sumabog," he said.

The rebels destroyed a transformer of Socoteco II power utility, plunging the coastal towns of Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum into total darkness.

The rebels also killed James Raymund Ruiz, 21, and Joleto Umas, 34, during the attack and wounded Jason Urapa, 20.

When a reporter asked if the Maasim attack has a "connection" with what was happening in Lanao del Norte, the governor said certain factors will try to strive for an all out war.

"However, what we see is a criminal act," Dominguez said. "Hinahabol natin yun mga responsible doon sa criminal act na nangyari."

The military and police are pursuing the bandits numbering about 60 to 80.

Transportation along the General Santos City-Maasim-Kiamba-Maitum highway was unaffected.

At least 120 families from Upper Daliao evacuated their village and now housed at the barangay hall in Daliao.

"We are doing everything we can. The local government and the provincial government are working hand in hand so that all of these IDPs (internally displaced persons) are well taken cared of," Governor Dominguez said.

Barangays Lumasal and Nomoh have 1,500 and 575 evacuees, respectively at their public elementary schools.

A quick response team deployed by Gov. Dominguez is attending to the evacuees' needs with food supplies and standby vehicles.

"We always strive for peace," Dominguez said. "Sarangani has remained to be peaceful until some rogue elements believed to be coming from the different parts of the region especially from Cotabato and Palimbang attacked." (PIO Sarangani/PIA SarGen) [top]

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