Farmer dead in Abu Sayyaf attack in Sulu

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    ABU Sayyaf members attacked a group of farmers in Patikul town in Sulu, leaving one of the victims dead, on Monday or six days after town officials declared the Abu Sayyaf persona non grata.

    Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the military’s Joint Task Group Sulu, identified the fatality as Tali Lakibul, a farmer and member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team.

    Lakibul and four other farmers from Barangay Igasan in Patikul town were harvesting fruits when they were fired at by an undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf men on Monday noon.

    “It’s harvest season for lanzones and mangosteen so the farmers were harvesting their products. The suspects are from the Abu Sayyaf who are roaming in the area,” said Lt. Col. Alaric delos Santos, spokesman of the Zamboanga City-based AFP Western Mindanao Command.

    Delos Santos said no other farmers were hurt in the attack.

    Lt. Col. Rafael Caido, commander of the Army’s 8th Special Forces Battalion, said troops have been deployed to catch the perpetrators.

    “The LTG (local terrorist group) is anxious because the people of Patikul have declared the group as persona non grata in the municipality. That is why they create(d) havoc to demonstrate their power,” he said.

    On September 29, Indanan led by Mayor Hermot Jikiri and other local officials signed a covenant declaring the Abu Sayyaf persona non grata and denounced the group known for atrocities like kidnapping and bombing.

    “We are declaring these terrorists persona non grata here in Indanan and we vow to support the military, police, and other security agencies in bringing lasting peace and progress in our beloved municipality,” said Jikiri in the covenant signing.

    The signing was witnessed by Wesmincom chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr, Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan, Gonzales, and other local government and police officials, among others.