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29 November 2000 - ABS-CBN

Basilan residents confirm military torture of Midjal

ZAMBOANGA (ABS-CBN) - Basilan residents have refuted military claims renegade Abu Sayyaf leader Abdul Midjal died in a clash in Basilan, saying the former bandit leader died Saturday afternoon after being tortured by government soldiers.

A source who refused to be identified, disclosed witnesses from Sumisip revealed elements of the Philippine Army's 32nd Infantry Battalion accidentally found Midjal in Sitio Da-ingan, Barangay Ticus.

Witnesses further narrated the military demanded to see Midjal's firearm to which the former bandit-leader-turned-vigilante-leader willingly agreed.

They said the soldiers then stripped Midjal of his jacket, shoes and P7,000 in cash then later cut-off his ears before he was killed.

The same source said residents of the village retaliated upon seeing the brutal killing of Midjal, who was once a civilian volunteer in the area.

Local residents reportedly cited the government troops for the brutal slaying saying civilian harassments in their area are being perpetrated by the military.

Reports from the province state sporadic firefights between the military and civilians continue resulting to the wounding of an undetermined number of civilians.

The military confirmed Monday, Midjal was killed by patrolling military men in Sumisip town, Basilan province, on Sunday.

The military confirmed a clash between the bandit group ensued which resulted to the killing of Midjal, but refused to release details of the clash.

Early this year, Midjal's group seized Abu Sayyaf leader Khadafy Janjalani's mother, his pregnant wife, their one-year-old child, and eight other clan members in an attempt to force the Abu Sayyaf to free hostages, including two of Midjal's daughters.

Midjal threatened to kill Janjalani's relatives if the rebels harmed any of their captives. The rebels beheaded two male teachers, but Midjal did not carry out his threat.

Authorities later persuaded Midjal to free his captives in exchange for the release of some of the hostages.

Midjal broke away from the Abu Sayyaf and formed a vigilante group to fight his former comrades after disagreeing with their activities, including kidnappings and attacks on Christian communities.

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