By Albashir Saiden
COTABATO CITY – The Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MILG-BARMM) and the military’s Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) will conduct a parallel investigation on the recent mortar shelling in Maguindanao that killed two minors and wounded more than a dozen others.
MILG-BARMM Minister Naguib Sinarimbo met Monday with Westmincom chief, Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, and Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, for a thorough investigation on the incident.
“We will get to the bottom of this incident to avoid making hasty conclusions pending the completion of the investigation,” Sinarimbo said.
Sinarimbo, also concurrent BARMM spokesperson, assured that the office of the region’s Chief Minister will take care of the needs of the victims.
“He [Chief Minister Ahod ‘Murad’ Ebrahim] has also directed the appropriate offices in the regional autonomous government to conduct an impartial investigation to unearth the truth,” Sinarimbo said.
On Monday, Sinarimbo visited the site of the incident in Sitio Amai Zailon, Barangay Kitango, Datu Saudi Ampatuan to conduct an inspection and community dialogue with the victims, including the father of the two female minors who died.
He also visited the wounded victims both at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center and Maguindanao Provincial Hospital to provide them with hospital and financial assistance.
The BARMM earlier condemned the act of violence that took the lives of innocent minors and injured many others, including the mother of the victims.
“This violence committed against hapless civilians is inhumane and evil, occurring as it did on what is supposed to be a festive day of Eid’l Fitr,” the BARMM said in a statement.
It added that the violence also compounded the present difficulties of the people as they struggle through the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
“Only the heartless criminals can commit such a wicked act,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission said it will also conduct a separate investigation to secure justice for the victims of the tragedy.
Around 4 p.m. Sunday, a kind of 81-mm mortar projectile launched from nowhere hit four houses in Barangay Kitango that killed two kids, aged 10 and seven, and wounded 14 others.
Troopers from the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion (57IB) under the 6ID have been battling harassments launched by the ISIS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in the interiors of Datu Saudi Ampatuan and its near environs the past several weeks.
The 6ID maintained it has not launched offensives in any part of Maguindanao on Sunday, in time that the province and the rest of the Muslim faithful in the country silently celebrated Eid’l Fitr that marked the end of the month-long fasting period of Ramadan.
The 6ID added the 57IB has detachments in the villages of Elian and Salbu in the municipality but not in Kitango. (ia/PNA)