In an apparent retaliation to the deaths of three of their comrades and injury to 13 others, the military picked-up and allegedly tortured and killed Engr. Abdul Mohaimen Nur Biston, field engineer of Amai Pakpak General Hospital. Engr. Biston was unarmed, carrying only a hand-held radio and a cellphone. He was picked up right after he performed his morning prayer on August 9, 2012. Members of the units of the 65th Infantry Brigade under the command of Lt.Col. Seigred Espina committed this heinous act.
Lt.Col. Espina claimed, in a statement he made on local news, that it was a case of “MISTAKEN IDENTITY” and that the military authorities have surrendered to the Philippine National Police of Marawi City the persons responsible of the heinous act.
According to Col. Daniel Lucero, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, at around 9:00 pm Wednesday Aug 8, a truck of soldiers patrolling Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City was ambushed by unidentified men, killing 3 soldiers and wounding at least ten more.
Another group of armed men attacked the military unit based at the Agus hydro dam in downtown Marawi. A ten-year old child was caught by, presumably, stray bullets. The child died.
MAYOR’S HOUSE RAIDED
The military suspected the attackers to be supporters of Marawi City Mayor Fahad Salic. The military then raided the house of the mayor and confiscated a gun and some ammunition, supposedly as evidence. The Mayor, on the other hand, threatened to sue the military for trespassing, warrant-less search and theft.
According to Philippine Star report:
“A female Marawi City official, however, said the soldiers were waylaid after conducting a failed raid for illegal drugs on one of the houses in the MSU compound.
The official, who requested anonymity, said the soldiers retaliated by raiding and searching houses, including the residence of Mayor Fahad Salik and his wife, Rasma, an assemblywoman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Salik decried (sic) the raid, saying the soldiers had no search warrant and alleging that cash, valuables and jewelry were missing in his house. He said the AK assault rifle seized by the troops is licensed.
The female city official said government troops have set up roadblocks in the city, compounding the tense situation there.
She said soldiers even disarmed two policemen on their way home yesterday morning.”
From other reports gathered, it appears that the unidentified attackers’ motive was to avenge the killing of a relative by soldiers of this particular military unit.
And it appears that the military is bent on avenging their fallen comrades.
DE FACTO MARTIAL LAW
While ARMM officials have announced that there is no Martial Law in Marawi, the military seems to be pretty much the law there. They, instead of the police, patrol the city. More troops are now “securing” MSU. They arrest people without warrants, just like what they did to Engr. Biston, whom they picked up and eventually allegedly killed. And they even raid the Mayor’s house without any search warrant and confiscate his gun and ammunition.
There are several reports of military abuses toward civilians in Marawi City that still need to be verified and documented.