Bravo’s cousin shot dead in Kauswagan

Violeta M. Gloria/MindaNews   
Thursday, 04 September 2008 16:54



ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/3 Sep) — A cousin of Abdulrahman Macapaar alias Commander Bravo, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commander who allegedly masterminded the assaults in Lanao del Norte last month, was shot-dead by motorcycle-riding men this afternoon at Kauswagan town, reports said.

Oscar Macalonto, 60, was shot three times in the head by three men on a motorcycle who were believed to be not residents of the town.


Christmar Pernia, a staff of Pakigdait, Inc., a group working for interfaith dialogue in Kauswagan, said that Macalonto just came from a meeting of the municipal peace and order council when shot after disembarking at Roxas Street.


“Macalonto is a respectable person in Kauswagan, a former commander of the Moro National Liberation Front who now works for the local government,” Pernia said.


He said that Macalonto will be buried at Barangay Delabayan in Kauswagan.


“Pakigdait’s staff is helping the bereaved family for his burial,” Pernia added.


Brig. Gen. Hilario Atendido, commanding officer of Joint Task Force Tabak, confirmed reports of the killing but said “they got no information on the identity of the victim.”


Atendido also said that in the ongoing bombardments and armed confrontations in remote municipalities of Lanao del Norte, there have been MILF casualties “but we don’t have their actual body count since they carry and bury with them their combatants.”


He said, though, that they recovered one body in the hinterland town of Munai, along with an M16 rifle.


“We let the MILF accountable to their men just as we are accountable to our men,” Atendido said.


He said that for the past two weeks, two soldiers have died and 26 have been wounded.


Atendido believes that Commander Bravo is still in Lanao del Norte and have not crossed to Lanao del Sur yet.


“We expect that his withdrawal will be southward because we have troops in all fronts now,” he said.


Meanwhile, the civil society is Lanao have complained that soldiers have refused entry of relief goods to hinterland towns.


“We still need to dialogue with them and with the provincial officials to assist us and remove the food blockade for the internally displaced communities in hinterland barangays,” said Regina Antequisa, executive director of Ecoweb, Inc. and partner of Mindanao Emergency Response Network (MERN).


Antequisa commented that the military’s strategy is apparently meant to intentionally let the MILF-influenced communities to dwell in hunger. “We are just giving two kilos of rice for every ‘bakwit.’ Why deprive the hungry civilians of the two kilos?” she asked.


Residents in Poona Piagapo, another hinterland town, have started evacuating despite the Ramadhan, she added.


Antequisa opined that they are yet waiting for the commitment of Caritas Australia’s assistance for the internally displaced communities.


“The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have committed P2 million while the Catholic Accompaniment for Overseas Development (CAFOD) have also committed P4 million for disaster management,” she said. (Violeta M. Gloria/MindaNews)

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