By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY — The 51st anniversary of the Jabidah massacre drew three separate commemorations on Monday, two of which were held in this city, the official seat now of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chaired by Murad Ebrahim, now BARMM interim chief minister, led a gathering at the front’s Camp Darapanan headquarters in adjacent Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao, to remember the tragic event, which sparked the formation of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
“Fifty-one years ago, a group of Moro youth was ruthlessly killed in what is now known in history as the Jabidah Massacre, spurring the contemporary Moro rebellion. On this day, we remember the mujaheedin who, since then, have made the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives for the Bangsamoro cause,” Ebrahim said in a statement Monday.
Fatalities in the March 18, 1968 massacre were Moro youths recruited from Sulu archipelago by the Marcos regime purportedly to invade and retake Sabah from Malaysia. Military trainers slew them in Corregidor for staging a mutiny upon learning that they were to fight fellow Muslims in Sabah, which the Sultanate of Sulu claimed to be its property on lease to Malaysia, according to history.