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Syrian preacher shot dead in new BARMM territory

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By Ali Macabalang

KIDAPAWAN CITY – In what could be the first serious challenge that officials of the newly-installed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), a Syrian Islamic teacher was shot dead, while his wife was wounded, in a daring attack at their residence in Carmen town, North Cotabato Friday night.

Carmen police identified the fatality as Sheik Wasif, a Muslim missionary from Syria who was teaching in a Madrasah (Arabic school) in Barangay Manarapan, while his wife Tayaan Ambag, an ethnic Maguindanaoan Muslim, was wounded in the attack at their home in Barangay Nasapian.

Manarapan and Nasapian, both of Carmen town, are among the 63 villages of North Cotabato that now form part of the infant Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The Region 12 police office on Saturday said initial reports indicated that gun men barged into Wasif’s house Friday night and opened fire, killing him on the spot.

The wounded wife was rushed to hospital by responding Carmen policemen and barangay officials.

Bereaved kin demanded help from the BARMM governance by way of an “in-depth probe” of the incident.

“The incident must not become part of many unsolved killings in Carmen. BARMM officials can perhaps make the difference. We voted for inclusion in BARMM in the February 6 plebiscite because we want to be safer,” a relative of the wounded wife said in vernacular Saturday night.

Gunmen shot dead a Syrian Islamic teacher and wounded his wife in a daring attack at the victims’ house in Carmen town, North Cotabato Friday night.

The Carmen town police named the fatality only as Sheik Wasif and his wounded ethnic Maguindanaon Muslim spouse as Tayaan Ambag.

Wasif, a Muslim missionary from Syria, was a theology teacher in a Madrasah (Arabic school) in barangay Manarapan, and residing with his wife in barangay Nasapian.

Manarapan and Nasapian, both of Carmen town, are among the 63 villages of North Cotabato that now form part of the infant Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The Region 12 police office on Saturday said initial reports indicated that gun men barged into Wasif’s house Friday night and opened fire, killing him on the spot.

The wounded wife was rushed to hospital by responding Carmen policemen and barangay officials.

Bereaved kin demanded help from the BARMM governance by way of an “in-depth probe” of the incident.

“The incident must not become part of many unsolved killings in Carmen. BARMM officials can perhaps make the difference. We voted for inclusion in BARMM in the February 6 plebiscite because we want to be safer,” a relative of the wounded wife said in vernacular Saturday night.

Chief Superintendent Eliseo Rasco, Region 12 police director, has reportedly ordered the North Cotabato provincial police to dispatch intelligence agents to Carmen to help investigate the incident.

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