On Sunday, the death of 7 children in an alleged shootout occurred on October 23 with the Philippine military is investigating by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
The encounter between the military and the 7 children occurred at 5:05 a.m. on Wednesday, October 23 in Barangay Tumbras, Midsayap, North Cotabato. The military claimed the young men are ‘child warrior’ and is belonging to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Seven were killed in the shootout, according to MindaNews. The report added that Manto Sema, grandfather of Angelo Bangon, one of the slain child warriors, denied his grandson being part of BIFF.
The BIFF is known to their activities similar to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which led by certain Mama Macalimbol who is residing in the area where the clash has happened. Philippine military Lt. Col. Glen Caballero, who led the raid operation, told MindaNews that the operation supposed to serve a warrant on Macalimbol who also linked to illegal drug syndicate and the bombing of Sto. Nino Church in Midsayap town on December 24, 2016, which left 12 people injured. BIFF denied Macalimbol as a member of the organization, the report says.
On Sunday, Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Jane Elago called the incidence as “massacre” and files a resolution in Congress of the Philippines to investigate the killing of 7 children. She also seeks full and unbiased investigation on the massacre following her condemnation addressed to the involved military.
Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) of the army told the reporters that the BIFF is recruiting child warriors. It was not new to their eyes, according to the report.
Westmincom maintains their claims that the 7 children were combatants of the BIFF. High powered guns, cal. 50 sniper rifle, Garand rifle, Armalite rifle, and ammunition were seized by the military forces after the 40-minute firefight on Wednesday.
- Ferdinandh B. Cabrera. “CHR probes Tumbras deaths amid conflicting claims on minors, ‘child warriors’” — MindaNews, OCTOBER 27, 2019
- Charissa Luci-Atienza. “Party-list solon wants full probe on alleged massacre of 7 Midsayap youth” — Manila Bulletin, October 27, 2019