- An army corporal runs berserk and kills 5 of his comrades attending a bible study
- The suspect was killed by other soldiers who quickly responded upon hearing the gunshots
- The pastor conducting the bible study was among the wounded
An army corporal who had just been back from a vacation went berserk and opened fire at a Bible study session inside a military camp in Basilan; killing five of his comrades and wounding 9 others at around 8:45 a.m. Thursday, October 22.
The soldier who ran amuck was identified as Cpl. Tahiruddin Taha, assigned as mortar gunner of the Bravo Company of the 64th Infantry Battalion based in Barangay Upper Cabengbeng, Sumisip in Basilan.
Colonel Benjamin Hao, Philippine Army spokesman, said Taha fired his M-16 rifle at his comrades, who were unarmed at the time of the shooting, while in the middle of the Bible study session inside the company headquarters.
The killed soldiers were 1Lt. Camlon Martin Puao, the Bravo Company’s executive officer, 2Lt. Alvin Ebina, platoon leader, S/Sgt. Jonathan Galicto, Cpl. Robert Jondayan and Pfc. Jessrel Calud.
The wounded were brought to the 104th Infantry Brigade headquarters in Isabela City before they were airlifted to a military hospital in Zamboanga City. Among the injured was the civilian who led the Bible study identified as Pastor Rolly Matson.
Taha, reportedly a Moro National Liberation Front integree, was killed by other soldiers who immediately responded upon hearing the gunshots.
In the October 22, 2015 Inquirer article written by Julie M. Aurelio, Hao said Taha’s comrades noticed that the corporal was not his usual jolly self when he came back from vacation. He was quiet and appeared to be sad. Taha cited family problems when he requested for a break.
“When he came back, his colleagues noticed that he grew to be quiet and sad, unlike his usual self who was approachable and jolly,” Hao said.
According to Aurelio’s report, at around 8 a.m. of the fateful day, Taha reportedly approached the soldier on duty at the guard post of the military camp and asked if he could replace him as the sentinel on duty. However, the soldier on duty refused; saying Taha could go on duty at noon, when his shift would start.
“Maglalaba na lang ako,” (I’ll go and wash my clothes instead) Taha reportedly told the sentinel on duty.
Less than an hour later, Taha went to the multipurpose center where the Bible study was being conducted and fired at his comrades.