MILF killed Basit Usman, five followers — AFP

By , on May 7, 2015


Photo of slain Basit Usman released by the AFP Public Affairs Office
Photo of slain Basit Usman released by the AFP Public Affairs Office

MANILA — Three days after the incident, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is now saying that members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) shot and killed terrorist Basit Usman and five of his followers during an encounter in Guindulungan town, Maguindanao before noon Sunday.

This is contrary to their earlier statements, which was issued by AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, claiming that infighting among the group led to the death of Usman and his men.

The military arrived at this conclusion after sending team, coming from the Maguindanao-based 6th Infantry Division, to investigate.

“After our verification, we have learned that Basit Usman entered an MILF area,” said AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc.

And when spotted, elements from the MILF then accosted him so that he can be brought to the MILF Central Committee, he added.

“However, Basit Usman resisted, triggering a firefight that resulted to his death,” Cabunoc stressed.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, in a press conference, even went further and said that they have received a verbal report from the 6th Infantry Division units which confirmed MILF claims that it had played a major role in the neutralization of Usman and his followers at Sitio Takeneken, Barangay Muti, Guindulungan town, Maguindanao 11 a.m. last May 3.

“After receiving the detailed verbal report from our field units, we have confirmed that the MILF had indeed carried out the neutralization of Basit Usman. We reiterate our message of appreciation to the MILF for showing sincerity in collaborating with the government in our joint efforts against lawlessness and terrorism in Mindanao,” he added.

And when queried about the earlier report claiming infighting among his men caused Usman’s death, Kakilala said that this was only an initial report.

“That’s why AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang ordered 6th Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Eduardo Pangilinan to conduct a thorough investigation on the circumstances of the death of Basit Usman,” the AFP spokesman said.

However, Kakilala said he does not know on whether Pangilinan coordinated with the MILF in coming out with this report.

The AFP spokesman also said they are still to get the detailed report concerning Usman’s death.