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Fifteen fishermen killed off Basilan

MANILA – Fifteen crewmembers of three fishing boats were killed in a gunfire attack in a fish shelter off the Basilan coast, reports said.

The attack took place Monday (January 23) near Sibago Island in Mohammad Ajul in Basilan.

Military officials said the victims were aboard three boats on when gunmen aboard three other vessels opened fire using assault rifles.

Seven fishermen aboard the first boat were killed, five died and two were wounded in the second boat, and three were killed and one wounded in the third boat.

Passing fishermen were able to recover the dead and three survivors. They were brought to Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur province, where they come from.

Survivor Jerome Lunsol, who was taken to the Zamboanga City Medical Center, has reportedly told military officials that the fish shelter’s owner warned them against fishing in the area.

Authorities have ruled out possible involvement of the Abu Sayyaf, who are active in the island.