The Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) were able to kill around 250 individuals during an encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25, chief Getulio Napeñas claimed before a Senate hearing on Monday.
Napeñas stressed that the members of the elite police force who were sent to the mission were highly trained individuals.
“They know what they’re doing and know what to do in times of adversity and hostility. Had it been otherwise, the combined force of the MILF and BIFF and other private armed groups would have not suffered at least 250 casualties in the midst of the firefight that took place almost the whole day,” Napeñas said.
Napeñas added that the 37-man assault force from the 84th Special Action Company were able to shoot at least 150 of their enemies.
Superintendent Raymond Train, one of the SAF survivors, said that he killed at least 25 attackers during the encounter, according to Napeñas.
SAF snipers stationed in the area were able to take down at least 20 of their opponents, Napeñas added.
“Had the artillery support we requested arrived on time, the situation would have been entirely different,” Napeñas explained, adding that early reinforcements would have lessened the number of SAF casualties.
Napeñas stressed that the SAF commandos were more than prepared for the operation to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan, and his Filipino cohort Basit Usman.
During the latter part of the hearing, the former SAF chief said that Train’s team was able to neutralize Marwan and they cut out an index finger of the terrorist that was used in the DNA confirmation by the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Mission accomplished. This is only the word that the SAF troopers needed to hear, only that it happened with a price the lives of our 44 brave young men,” Napeñas said.
However, the claim was negated by the MILF, saying the SAF troopers were only able to kill fewer than 20 men.
“18 ang patay at 14 [ang] wounded sa MILF,” MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said in a news report.