Philippine army says trained soldiers not used in Manila hijack

Philippine soldiers trained to deal with hostage situations were sent to Manila's deadly bus hijacking this week but were not used, the military said.

Philippine army says trained soldiers not used in Manila hijack

 

Philippine soldiers trained to deal with hostage situations were sent to Manila's deadly bus hijacking this week but were not used by the ground commander, the military said on Thursday.

Spokesman Brigadier General Jose Mabanta could not say if the outcome of the hijacking, in which eight hostages and the gunman were killed, would have been different if the squad was used instead of the police's Special Weapons and Tactics team.

The botched rescue has been widely criticised, particularly in Hong Kong, where all the victims were residents, and China, and the new administration of President Benigno Aquino has been accused of poor management of both the siege and its aftermath.

China called for the results of a probe into the tragedy to be relased quickly, and said its embassy had repeatedly put its view to the Philippine government.

"We believe that the most urgent task is to get clear investigation results of the incident as soon as possible," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a brief statement on the ministry's website (www.mfa.gov.cn).

Mabanta said the police accepted the offer of the specialist squad, but then did not use it in resolving the hostage-taking.

"The Light Reaction Company which we presented as a very viable alternate is highly-trained, highly-equipped, standards coming from the U.S. armed forces," he told a media briefing.

"It's specialty is hostage-taking and release of hostages."

The police have said there had been defects including poor handling of the negotiations, and that the assault team was inadequately trained, equipped and led.

Light Reaction squads are used to fight Islamist militants of the Abu Sayyaf group in the southern Philippines, Mabanta said.

On Wednesday, Chief Superintendent Rodolofo Magtibay, the head of police in area of the capital where the bloody siege took place, stood down while it was investigated. A police spokesman had said Magtibay was the ground commander.

On Thursday, Magtibay told a Senate inquiry he had not called for extra help as he thought the SWAT team could handle the situation.

Mabanta said he did not know if the outcome would have been different if the military squad had been used.

"I never can say because that may be presumptuous. It can be so, I don't really know," he said.
 

Reuters

Last Mod: 26 Ağustos 2010, 15:11
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