IF SHE CANNOT FIND BOSSI, HOW WILL GLORIA HUNT DOWN KILLERS OF TROOPS?by Napanice (no login)
IT SURE LOOKS LIKE MORE PHILIPPINE TROOPS WILL DIE BEFORE THIS HOSTAGE CRISIS IS OVER.
IT HAS BEEN ALMOST A MONTH NOW SINCE ITALIAN PRIEST GIANCARLO BOSSI WAS KIDNAPPED IN MINDANAO AND BOTH MILITARY AND POLICE HAVE BEEN TASKED TO SEARCH AND RESCUE HIM. THE ONLY RESULT SO FAR, ASIDE FROM NOT FINDING HIM, IS THE DEATH AND BEHEADING OF FILIPINO TROOPS WHO TRIED IN VAIN TO LOCATE HIM.
GLORIA'S VOW TO HUNT DOWN THE PERPETRATORS OF THIS HEINOUS CRIME SOUNDS HOLLOW AT THIS POINT BECAUSE ANOTHER ABDUCTION, THAT OF JONAS BURGOS, STILL REMAIN UNSOLVED AND SHE HAS EVEN ORDERED A CLAMPDOWN ON ITS INVESTIGATION. SURE, SHE MAY EVENTUALLY GET HER WAY AND RESCUE THE BODY OF BOSSI, BUT AT THE COST OF HOW MANY MORE LIVES?
Arroyo vows to hunt down perpetrators of beheadings
President Arroyo vowed on Thursday to hunt down the perpetrators of "the acts of savagery" against slain troopers who were beheaded after an encounter between Moro rebels and the Philippine Marines near Tipo-Tipo, Basilan Tuesday.
"The government will account for the perpetrators of this heinous attack in line with the rule of law, through the mechanisms of the peace process. The Armed Forces are duty-bound to hunt down and arrest those who treacherously killed and beheaded the soldiers," Mrs. Arroyo said.
The soldiers were killed while searching for kidnapped Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi. Ten of them were beheaded after an encounter with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels backed by terrorists in a remote village in Basilan, the military said. The decapitated bodies of the soldiers were recovered early Wednesday by authorities in Basilan and turned over to the military.
"If the perpetrators are Abu Sayyaf, the MILF must stand apart from these terrorists and allow their pursuit and interdiction by government forces. If MILF forces are culpable, then they must be accounted for by the ceasefire committees and be brought to justice," she said
Nine other soldiers were injured after the eight-hour clash Tuesday near Tipo-Tipo town, a known hideout of the Abu Sayyaf and the MILF.
Marine spokesman Lt. Col. Ariel Caculitan said the troops under the 8th Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) had been dispatched to one of the villages in Tipo-Tipo to check reports that Bossi had been sighted with his captors there.
The troops, however, ran into about 300 gunmen composed of MILF rebels, which the military said was backed by Abu Sayyaf militants, triggering the firefight.
MILF condemns beheading
The MILF on Thursday condemned the beheading of 10 of the 14 Marines killed as it denied that the group was responsible for "this kind of act."
MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said Moro rebels are also "very much interested" to find out which group was behind the decapitation of the bodies.
"We are also very much interested in the investigation. Who did the mutilation of the bodies of the Marines? Because never in the history of the MILF that they did such a thing," he told ABS-CBN News Channel.
Earlier, the MILF admitted that it was behind the attack after the Marines entered an identified MILF area near Tipo-Tipo.
It, however, denied that Abu Sayyaf supported its forces during the clash, stressing that the MILF had long cut links to the bandit group, which is known for mutilating its victims.
Kabalu pointed out that the MILF forces had already left the area after the clash, leaving the bodies behind. "Maybe some groups or somebody came in and dId the inhumane act against the Marines."
He said this is one of the issues the Coordinating Committees for the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) has to settle when it conducts its investigation on the encounter.
He, however, assured that sanctions will be slapped against the MILF forces involved in the incident if the investigation proves that they were responsible for the beheading.
Kabalu also denied reports that the attack occurred as the Marines were on their way back to their camp after searching for kidnapped Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi.
He maintained the Moro rebels opened fire only after the soldiers entered their territory without prior notice. He added that the encounter should have been avoided if only the military observed the existing guidelines in the ceasefire agreement.
He assured that the ongoing peace talks between the MILF and the government will not be affected by the incident.
For the President, however, there will be no sufficient justification of how the soldiers were executed. "There can be no excuses or alibis for these acts of savagery," Mrs. Arroyo said.
Posted on Jul 12, 2007, 8:49 AM
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