Photo courtesy of GMA NEWS ONLINE

Mortar shelling in Datu Saudi town kills 2 children, injures 13

Datu Salibo, Maguindanao- A mortal shelling allegedly from members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stationed not far from the location of the incident killed two minors’ siblings, while thirteen others, including their parents were injured in Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao, yesterday.
The 81mm mortar exploded in the house of Tambac family in Barangay Kitango at around 3:215pm Sunday while the family were celebrating the Feast of Eidl Fitr, or the end of Ramadan. 

Tambak’s house is located near a market in the said barangay.

One of the two kids was killed on the spot, while the other one died in hospital while being treated.

They were identified as Aslamiya and Asnaida, both female and surnamed Tambak, whose ages were 10 and 7 years old, respectively.
Those wounded were:

1. NORAISA A. TAMBAK (40 y/o Female) – Mother of Aslamiya and Asnaida Tambak
2. NORSAD A. TAMBAK (5 y/o Male)
3. BADRIA EBUS (35 y/o Female)
4. SAUD EBUS (7 y/o Male)
5. AIDA KEMBEG (35 y/o Female)
6. TATA KEMBEG (30 y/o Female)
7. NAJIMA PUA (PWD) (16 y/o Female)
8. JEPU PUA (15 y/o Female)
9. MUSLIMA TAMBAK (40 y/o Female)
10. MATI ALI (45 y/o Male)
11. MIA ELIAN (20 y/o Female)
12. SALONGA MARCOS (20 y/o Male)
13. HALID DAGEDEBAN (21 y/o Male)

Local police authorities in Datu Saudi are still conducting an investigation to identify the perpetrators. 

In his Facebook account, MP Abdulraof Macacua, BARMM Executive Secretary described his feelings on the incident as: 

It's easy to accept someone's death because it's just normal. But you have to accept the death of these people and the wounds of others.
Killed were children. Little do they know what is happening in the world. Innocent minors.

The cause of death is due to Mortar shelling coming from people you know who know what they are doing. Expert and experienced individuals.
Died on the day that all Muslims around the world celebrate the most important day of Islam. Eidul Fitr in which every citizen of the world respects and regards it most.

Died at a time when we all want to make it happen that everyone around the world is safe from the pandemic caused by covid19. 
Despite the efforts of the President to protect its citizenry from this covid19, there are still sectors of our society that disregard the value and importance of life.

Died in the middle of us seeking true relief through mediation the implementation of agreements by both parties.

In reaction to the incident, Mr. Butch Malang, Chairman of the MILF Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) filed a protest, Sunday with its counterpart (GPH-CCCH) and asked it to stop immediately the mortal shelling by the AFP towards the location of Task Force Ittihad, BIAF-MILF in Barangay Kitango, Datu Saudi town, Maguindanao.

In the said protest, it requested the joint CCCH together with the International Monitoring Team (IMT) to conduct verification regarding the matter as manifestation of strong implementation of the ceasefire mechanism. 

Meanwhile, in a statement, Monday, May 25, posted on the Bangsamoro Government website, said that the leadership of the Bangsamoro Government condemns in the strongest term the mortar shelling that happened yesterday (May 24, 2020) in Barangay Kitango, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao which resulted in the tragic death of two minor siblings and the wounding of several others, including the mother of the slain children. 

This violence committed against hapless civilians is totally inhumane and evil, occurring as it did on what is supposed to be a festive day of Eid’l Fitr. It also compounds the present difficulties of our people as they struggle through with the COVID-19 pandemic. Only the heartless criminals can commit such a wicked act, the statement said.

The Bangsamoro Government called on the law enforcement agencies in Maguindanao, especially the Police Provincial Office and the 6th Infantry Division (Kampilan) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to conduct an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation of this tragedy and bring into the bar of justice those who are responsible, no matter who they are or affiliated to. This gruesome crime must not be let to pass into an unsolved incident.

It urged the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission to initiate its own investigation.

The Bangsamoro Government shall do everything possible in securing justice for the victims of this senseless tragedy, the statement read.