MANILA — The Western Mindanao Command announced on Monday that the death toll on the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) ambush against 50 civilians in Lower Talipao, Sulu has now climbed to 21.
Capt. Rowena Muyuela, Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, said the incident took place around 8:30 a.m. Monday as 40 civilians and 10 members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) were on their way to celebrate Hari Raya.
She added that the group were aboard two “Tamaraw” vans which was fired upon by a force of 50 ASG terrorists headed by Idang Susukan and Sibih Pisih.
Muyuela said that 16 persons were immediately killed and 13 others were wounded before the ASG immediately fled.
The wounded civilians were immediately brought to IPHO Jolo for prompt medical attention after being initially given first aid by responding Marines.
Unfortunately, five more wounded victims died bringing the total number of killed to 21, seven of which are males including a two-year-old boy and 14 females.
There were eight seriously wounded (two toddlers, five minors and one senior citizen) and three slightly wounded.
The Western Mindanao Command spokesperson said the motive for the ambush is a retaliatory action against the BPAT who are supporting the military and police in law enforcement operations in the province particularly against the ASG in Talipao. Earlier, reports said “rido,” or clan war, instigated the incident.
Military troops together with the PNP and BPAT have launched pursuit operations against the lawless group.