THREE members of a group suspected of involvement in illegal drugs were killed while two others were nabbed after a firefight with government troops in Midsayap town in Cotabato on Saturday, a military official reported yesterday.
The Zamboanga City-based AFP Western Mindanao Command identified the fatalities as Talus Baundi, Tata Mamintal, and Fahad Angangaw, while Satar Manticayaw and Hazel Joy Camancho Mamintal were arrested.
The operation was mounted by joint forces from the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Soccsksargen, and Midsayap police station, said Wesmincom chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan.
Vinluan said authorities swooped down on the lair of the suspects in Barangay Kapinpilan in Midsayap at around 5:50 a.m. to serve a search warrant against another group member, Tony Mamintal Doloan.
But the suspects opened fire at the approaching troops, who retaliated. Doloan escaped.
Seized from the suspects were an M16 rifle, M14 rifle, an M4 Carbine rifle, magazines and ammunition, three motorcycles without plate numbers, and seven pieces of transparent plastic sachets containing 35 grams of suspected shabu worth P210,000.
The fatalities were turned over to Barangay chairman Toto Konakon while the arrested suspects and their motorcycles are with the local police. The recovered firearms and drugs are under the custody of PDEA-Soccsksargen.
Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Central, said information from the public led to the successful operation.