SHARI FF AGUAK, Maguindanao: A suspected member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) shot dead on Tuesday a fellow Muslim, an unarmed member of the Army Engineering Brigade who was doing carpentry work at the learning facility in Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, police provincial director, identified the victim as Cpl. Tamano Macadatar of the 524th Engineering Battalion, a component unit of the Army’s 52nd Engineering Brigade.
According to Tello, Macadatar was approached by a gunman brandishing a .30 caliber M1 Garand Rifle and fired successive shots killing him instantly.
Macadatar and his fellow Army soldiers were helping the Teach Peace, Build Peace Foundation construct a learning center for residents of Barangay Tukanalipao, site of the infamous January 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident.
The incident, which left 44 personnel of the elite police Special Action Force, 17 guerillas of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and five innocent civilians dead, nearly caused the collapse of the now 19-year peace negotiations of the government with the MILF.
Tello said investigators are now trying to establish the identity of the gunman who killed Macadatar.
Army intelligence sources said aside from the suspect, about 10 other gunmen were positioned around the project site when Macadatar was treacherously shot to death.
Officials of the Army units in Mamasapano and nearby towns said they are certain the BIFF is responsible for the brutal murder of the unarmed soldier.
The BIFF, which boasts of loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, was also the prime suspect in the series of bombings in Central Mindanao in the past 10 days, reportedly launched as retaliations for the deaths of BIFF members in recent military operations in Maguindanao.
Meanwhile, Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commanding general of the 6th Infantry Division strongly condemned the killing of an unarmed soldier like Macadatar helping construct the school building in Mamasapano.
A hot pursuit operation was being carried out by joint police and military to hunt down the suspect and his cohorts.