Sibago Island

Nearly a dozen gunmen in the southern Philippines opened fire on three fishing boats killing 15.  According to a report by the AFP, this was likely an attack by a rival group protecting its lucrative fishing grounds.

The fishermen were aboard three small, wooden-hulled vessels off Sibago Island in Basilan province when attackers in speedboats fired on them and then sped away.  Seven fishermen died in one boat, five in another and three more in the third vessel.

The victims came from Pagadian city in Zamboanga del Sur province, 100 miles (170 kilometers) northeast of Sibago.

One of the survivors told police that their group had been warned to stay away from the fishing grounds where the attack took place.  There was unconfirmed reports that the attacked fishermen were blamed by their rivals for destroying giant nets that they had set up worth about $3,500. Such nets are used for catching tuna, one of the Philippines’ main exports.

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