Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society
Regional Management Committee (RMC)
Sibugay Region
Pagadian City

Statement Re: Mutilation of Marine Soldiers

July 17, 2007

The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) vehemently condemns the mutilation of the 10 dead bodies of marine soldiers in Basilan on July 11, 2007 by suspected Moro rebel groups. The beheading of corpses done in retaliation for the alleged killing by government forces of an old blind Imam in Basilan, in any way does not justify and condone such barbaric act of revenge.

The encounters of MILF and GRP forces arising from alleged violation of the ceasefire agreement resulting from lapses is anticipated, and thus the unfortunate and unnecessary wastage of lives in an area of conflict such as Basilan. Nonetheless, Muslims are unanimous in the belief that acts of mutilation of corpses are a form of disrespect of the human dignity and considered an evil deed. Islam, in accord with the international standard of human rights condemns this act unambiguously that no justification whatsoever is adequate.

Nevertheless, even as we join other groups in condemning this despicable act, we also appeal to all our people, especially relatives and friends of the victims to exercise sobriety and calmness in the midst of all the confusion arising from the succession of deplorable events starting from the abduction of Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, the cordoning of several Muslim villages and apprehension of innocent Moro civilians, the alleged killing of a Muslim religious leader and the mutilation of the dead marine soldiers.

Our sad history in the past, which brought untold miseries and sufferings for thousands of our innocent people in Mindanao, threatens to repeat itself, due to these series of appalling events that are bringing deeper emotional injuries and religious sentiments. The progression of unfortunate events are unfolding faster and seemingly eroding the otherwise improving relations of Muslims and Christians in Mindanao, leading us into new dimensions of enmity and serving as the powder keg that meant disaster for all of us.

Once more, let us remind ourselves, the defeat of our noble effort in forging understanding and unity among our people will have far-reaching consequences; and the yearning of the vast majority for a peaceful and harmonious co-existence will just remain a dream denied by the wickedness of the few.

Finally, we ask our people to pray for enlightened guidance; and even as we beg for divine mercy in the midst of this trying time, let us not forget that, foremost of all, we are also called upon as witnesses, and summoned towards the effort at building understanding and goodwill in carrying out our common mission of promoting peace, harmony, justice and compassion for all.

For the:
Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society

Sultan Maguid A. Maruhom