A supposed United States soldier is among the dead in the clash on January 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province.
Human rights groups are claiming that the body of a ‘blue-eyed’ caucasion man, believed to by that of an American soldier, has been reported among those killed in the deadly shootout between an elite police group and the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bansamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
The Muslim Human Rights Group – Suara Bansamoro – has said a witness saw at least one ‘white’ soldier recovered from the scene.
The name of the witness has not been made public for security reasons.
“They (civilian residents of Barangay Tukanalipao) were the first ones to arrive in one of the two areas where the encounter happened,” he said in a report carried by Pinoy Weekly Online.
Aba added that civilians arrived in the area after troops of the MILF withdrew to the Islamic Center in Sitio Inubog, Barangay Pembalkan, also in Mamasapano.
On Sunday, however, an official who is privy to ongoing investigation by the Board of Inquiry designated to probe the incident belied claims that an American was among those killed in the massacre.
“They could be dreaming. I was there for four days and no such story surfaced. Civilians were the first to arrive in the area. Don’t you think not one of them would have thought of taking a photo or a video of any American there? That is not true,” the source, a ranking police officer, told The Manila Times.
The operation was thought to have been guided by U.S. troops who provided vital intelligence to the elite units on the ground. A drone was deployed by the U.S. military and assisted in monitoring the situation on the ground in real-time.
The United States Embassy in Manila has noted that American soldiers were in Mamasapsano were they “Assisted in Evacuating the Dead and Wounded” and were not involved in the operations directly.