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Maranaws urge speedy resolution of media team Marawi ambush

 • 23:31 PM Tue Dec 29, 2015
John Unson
Maranaw peace activists march on the streets of Marawi City to manifest indignation over Saturday’s ambush of a visiting ABS-CBN news team. (John Unson)

MARAWI CITY -- Peace activists on Monday called on local folks to refrain from spreading unfounded stories on Saturday’s ambush here of a visiting news team and help determine who the culprits were instead.Noone was hurt when gunmen opened fire on the vehicle carrying local ABS-CBN employees, reporter Ronnie Enderes, cameraman Emilito Balansag and driver Garry Montecillo, but the incident sparked public outrage and worsened the image of the city, now touted as the new crime capital of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).Maranaw peace advocates and representatives from different civil society organizations (CSOs) belonging to the Bangsamoro National Movement for Peace and Development (BNMPD) on Monday marched around to manifest indignation over the incident and express sympathy to the Fourth Estate.ARMM’s regional vice governor, Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, condemned the incident and called mindless” the motorcycle-riding gunmen who shot with handguns the pick-up truck of the ABS-CBN news team while at Banggolo District here.Lucman called on his constituents and relatives in Maranaw royal clans to help the police identify the people responsible for the attack to hasten their prosecution. They should be prosecuted to achieve proper dispensation of justice. The attempt to harm these newsmen was both unconstitutional and un-Islamic,” Lucman said. Agakhan Bin Laden” Sharief, chairperson of the multi-sectoral BNMPD, said his group was saddened by the incident.Sharief, a staunch supporter of the Mindanao peace process, said Maranaws are friendly to the Fourth Estate.He said it is the media that helps disseminate their peace-building activities in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur.Sharief, most known here as Bin Laden” for his long beard, which is for him a personality trademark, urged the police to immediately resolve the incident.Monday’s indignation rally here was jointly organized by Sharief and another popular peace activist, Drieza Abato Lininding, and their CSO supporters.A bloc of journalists covering the ARMM regional police office in Camp S.K. Pendatun in Maguindanao province and members of Central Mindanao’s Kampilan Press Corps (KPC) had also condemned the incident.Many members of the two groups, particularly those in the KPC, which covers the peace-building programs of the Philippine Army’s 6thInfantry Kampilan” Division, are gun collectors and have strong advocacy for arming of journalists as protection from potential attackers.The police, the military, reporters, local officials in Lanao del Sur and in Marawi City and in other ARMM provinces were irked with the Facebook blogs of a self-proclaimed Maranaw journalist circulating stories purporting that the vehicle of the ABS-CBN employees had figured in a prior road accident and that the attack was an offshoot of their having tried to run away to escape from liability.Sources from the ARMM regional police office, among them Maranaw officers, said no one from among local probers still sifting through the crime scene, collecting statements from witnesses, found veracity on the assertion of the social media publicist-blogger, Salman Ranaw. That was so irresponsible. So premature and whimsical and so heretic,” said a ranking police official in Lanao del Sur.ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, chairman of the inter-agency regional peace and order council, urged Marawi City and Lanao Del Sur residents to wait for the official result of the probe on the incident.Hataman appealed for sobriety among members of the Fourth Estate in Cotabato City and surrounding provinces who were hurt by the ambush of their colleagues.Hataman said his political deputy, Lucman, who is ARMM’s second highest elected official, and the regional local government department are closely monitoring the on-going investigation on the incident.

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