Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Spate of kidnappings, murders alarm Basilan ulamas
Some twenty-four Muslim ethnic religious leaders based in Basilan Province have voiced alarm over the spate of kidnappings and extra-judicial executions in the different parts of the island province.
The Basilan Ulama Council (BUC) condemned the wave of kidnappings and killings and urged all the local officials to immediately convene their respective peace and order council if only to faithfully address the current alarming situation in the province.
"We firmly believe that the immediate convening of the peace and order council would surely bring about proper venue for the ventilation of any burning issues that may be detrimental to the people and the province as a whole," members of the BUC said in a statement.
They believe that with serious approach and joint efforts of the different local officials as well as the military and police with the support of various stakeholders in the province, the current peace and order disturbances could be minimized and improved.
A spate of kidnappings in Basilan began July last year, where almost two dozens of people including children were abducted. This was followed by a series of killings of suspected members or sympathizers of Moro rebel and political groups.
Ustadz Abdulmuhmin Mujahid, BUC vice chairman for operations, alleged that the law and order situation in the province had collapsed, as incidents of killings are rampant in the different parts of the province.
"Residents were afraid of venturing out even in day time," Mujahid said. "Enough is enough in Basilan. No to kidnappings and killings!" Mujahid said.
But police and military authorities maintained that patrolling had been intensified in the province and special operations were being launched to arrest or neutralize criminals and lawless elements.