ISABELA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 28, 2009) – Unidentified gunmen killed two soldiers in an attack just outside an army camp in the restive province Basilan in the southern Philippines, officials said.
Officials said two had just bought a cigarette from a store outside their camp in Tipo-Tipo town when gunmen attacked them late Saturday.
“We are still investigating the attack. We don’t know who were behind the attack,” First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a regional military spokeswoman, told the Mindanao Examiner.
Cacho did not release the soldiers’ names or say if they were armed or not at the time of the attack. She said the victims were members of the 55th Engineering Brigade deployed in Basilan to repair dilapidated schools.
But police identified the slain soldiers as Technical Sergeant Luciano Abcede and Private First Class Danny Salian.
“We have sent police forces to hunt down the attackers. We don’t know the motive of the killings. Investigation is going on,” said Senior Superintendent Salik Macapantar, the provincial police chief.
Tipo-Tipo is a known lair of Moro rebels blamed for many attacks on security forces. US troops are also deployed in Basilan and helping local soldiers in various humanitarian missions. It was not immediately known whether American forces are also deployed in Tipo-Tipo.
Basilan is one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao and a stronghold of various rebel groups, including the most violent al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf and the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (Mindanao Examiner)