49 police commandos killed in Maguindanao bloodbath

MOWED DOWN  A local official looks at some of the bodies of the slain policemen. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ELY DUMABOC OF MINDANAO EXAMINER

A local official looks at some of the bodies of the slain policemen. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ELY DUMABOC OF MINDANAO EXAMINER

AT least 49 police commandos have been confirmed killed in the bloodbath that occurred on Sunday in Maguindanao province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

An 11-hour gun battle broke out after police entered the remote town of Mamasapano, held by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), around 3 a.m. on Sunday without coordinating with the rebels as required under their ceasefire agreement.

The bodies of 49 policemen have been recovered and moved to an Philippine Army camp, regional police spokeswoman Judith Ambong said.

She did not say whether any MILF members were killed.
Police had been targeting two high-profile terror suspects in the operation.

“This is going to be a big problem,” the MILF’s chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said when asked how the fighting would affect the peace process.

But he and government officials said the ceasefire still held.
Philippine National Police chief Leonardo Espina and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd flew to Maguindanao on Monday.

In a statement, Espina said the police commandos were chasing a “high-value target” believed to be behind recent bomb attacks in the South. He did not elaborate.

Iqbal said they were trying to arrest a member of regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah called Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, among the United States’ most wanted with a $5- million bounty for his capture.

Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli is the most prominent of the 10 to 12 foreign JI members believed hiding in the Philippines.

Authorities were also allegedly targeting Basit Usman, commander of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

“This is the first encounter between the MILF and [government forces]this year. Hopefully, this will be the last,” Iqbal said.

“We are committed [to the peace process]. For the MILF, the ceasefire still holds,” he added.

The rebel group’s vice chairman, Ghazali Jaafar, said the peace treaty signed last March was the only solution to the conflict.

“It is not logical for anybody to delay the process,” he told reporters by phone.


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  1. why the hell is the philippines, as a country, with its armed forces and its police force, have to ask permission to enter a city, a town, a district, or a barangay, just because they are considered MILF and or BIFF territories? whose bright idea was this to begin with? for as long as there is a valid search warrant and or an arrest warrant, then the government can exercise its powers against its citizens. how can there be an autonomy from the central government wherein the government itself has to ask permission to enter an autonomous region? how can there be a government for muslims within a government for and of both muslims and christians or for the filipinos for that matter? junk the BIFF for all i care because the finalization of this agreement will shatter the philippines into pieces even more.

  2. This is a sad fact that every armed service man has to face daily in Philippines, the loss of 49 commandos in a single day is a big blow on the morale of their brethrens-in-arms. Not that they lost them in a fair fight, but they where sent to their death and be slaughtered like lambs.

    And, the President down to all his spineless government officials, can offer by way of explaining their death is that it was a ‘mis-encounter’, how unpleasant and unpalatable a reason to express to the bereaved families of the dead law officers. If only the 5 million dollars bounty for the head of the ‘neutralized’ terrorist Marwan, will be distributed to each family of these brave souls – it just might salvage their hope for a better future after losing someone who provides for their sustenance.

    Their murderers did not even have the decency to honor the dead, they even took the boots and uniforms (judging from the photo), and if they were stripped of their weapons, it will certainly be used by the rebels to increase their membership, to fight off and murder the government soldiers and law enforcers.

  3. The rubbing-salt-on-wound stance of the Palace on this incident in terms of blaming the PNP for the massacre (is the Police organization causing the massacre of its own people ?) with all due respect to the victims and concern to their relatives and friends is a very welcome development for people who have long wanted this administration to end prematurely.

  4. Our fallen commandos died in vain coz at The 11hours of fighting nobody reinforcement them in the battle why is it bcoz there is existing cease f:ire between the government and the milf,so,our fallen commandos became a sacrificial lambing just to get these terrorist protected by these extremist….money cannot relieved the pain of the family o these fallen commandos…..but absolutely they are shouting for JUSTICE…….

  5. “We are committed [to the peace process]” said MILF, they are committed to the process indeed, but not to real peace. the process is necessary to obtain what they want but not to bring peace.

    Why do RP has to inform MILF in the conduct of its law enforcement agency? You dont have to reveal classified operation plan before executing it, much more MILF is known to have links with these same people.

  6. The drama of Roxas had no impact to common tao anymore, fed up of Penoy rhethoric speech you two are annoying look what had happen to those young officers two much to bear…

  7. The attempts of this administration to salve a tragedy that should’nt have happened are pathetic and moronic starting from the order of pnoy to two secretaries and two chiefs one of the PNP and he other of the arm forces to investigate the tragic deaths of the policemen as if saying that look no less than the top brass are dispatched to attend to the matter is this not a showing how concerned this administration is. The question is will this investigationlead to a determination of who commited the blunder and punishment of those responsible for it and were I a relative of anyone who died I will suspect that a hush hush is ongoing to shove this blunder again under the rug. The teary declarations of roxas that those who perished are heroes in pursuit of a terrorist of worldwide infamy mentioning even some of the heinous acts of terrorism he commited were disgusting “pakonsuelo” and together with the two chiefs statements seconding roxas’ drama saying even that the terrorist “seemed” to have been “neutralized” merely added to their dumb and dumber skit. This incident. Is just the latest of the string of mistakes, mishaps, errors etc that this pnoy administration has been commiting and continues to commit leading to a wish that pnoy be removed or by some miracle resigns (what a lovely thought PNOY RESIGNS!).

  8. This incident must open us to reality that if MILF will be given autonomy . The more problem we will have in the future . They alway justify that MILF and BIFF is enemy at the surface and brethren at the bottom . Simple equation . They are fooling the Government. What assurance now do we have if Mindanao will be handled to them on a silver plate ? Justice for the fallen Cop is not enough . This traitor must not be trusted . History has told us and future will still be the same .

  9. Were they not “sacrificial lambs” to justify the delay in the approval of the BBL so as to save the government from embarassment?

    • Juan dela Cruz on

      Were the SAF commandos given a false intelligence report on the presence of terrorists Basit Usman and Marwan in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao and deliberately misled into an MILF stronghold? Was it a deliberate mission aimed at breaking the Philippine peace deal with the MILF that resulted in deadly consequence?

      Who was behind it? Who in SAF ordered the mission and by who’s authority? Who fed the SAF with false intelligence and why was the SAF commandos not told about the area is the headquarters of the 105th Base Command of the MILF and civilians living near there are supporters and followers of the former rebel group?

      Now, who will take the blame to save the neck of others?

      Peace spoilers now have a solid reason to campaign against BBL and MILF and to further their own agenda and self-interest, and EPAL politicians will surely ride the bandwagon of media propaganda…elections are near! frown emoticon