ZAMBOANGA CITY – A deputy mayor from the remote southern Philippine town of Sapa-Sapa in Tawi-Tawi was assassinated in Zamboanga City in a daring attack Wednesday afternoon by a lone gunman.
The attacker shot Al-Rashid Mohammad Ali who was in a car with his companions, including a policeman, during a traffic stop in downtown Zamboanga. The gunman apparently tailed Ali’s car and then shot him several times through the window.
The attacker escaped on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice after the shooting. It was unknown why no policemen were in sight at the time of the shooting.
Ali’s escort tried to pursue the shooter, but failed to catch up on him. The politician was rushed to the Zamboanga Doctor’s Hospital nearby, but he did not survive the attack.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the murder and police cannot say the motive of the killing, not until the investigation is complete. Ali’s family did not give any statement to journalists who were outside the hospital.
The assassination came a day after two motorcycle gunmen killed a 34-year old Arabic teacher, Ibrahim Baguinda, in the village of Talon-Talon. Baguinda was driving his motorcycle with his daughter when one the assailants, who tailed him, shot him many times.
When Baguinda fell off the motorcycle, one of the gunmen, walked towards him and fired more shots, according to the police.
Policemen, who responded to the shooting, failed to arrest the killers, but they recovered about two dozen fired cartridges from a 9mm automatic pistol. Police, quoting witnesses to the killings, said the gunmen were both wearing masks and helmets, and black jackets.
Prior to Baguinda’s murder, a group of gunmen swooped down on a Muslim neighborhood in Kasanyangan village near Talon-Talon and barged inside several houses and held its occupants at gunpoint and then fired indiscriminately in the air before escaping.
Villagers recovered fired cartridges from 9mm and .45-caliber automatic pistols. Gun attacks are rampant in Zamboanga where killings, believed perpetrated by hired killers, occur almost every day despite the imposition of an extended martial law in the volatile region. Just recently, a village councilman, Michael Magallanes was killed by a lone gunman outside his house in Santa Catalina village. Magallanes, 38, who was elected council member in the recently concluded polls, had been shot at least 5 times.
Magallanes’ family did not issue any statement and it was not immediately known whether the victim had been receiving death threats or if the killing was political or not. (Mindanao Examiner)
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