PULACAN, Zamboanga del Sur - A suspected member of a lawless group was killed and another was captured in a brief gun battle in sitio Ulingan in the coastal village of Salipyasin, Kabsalan, Zamboanga Sibugay province at 1:30 p.m. on April 6.
Liutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera, 1st Infantry "Tabak" Division Philippine Army Spokesperson, identified the fatality as Samuhong Ahod.
The other suspect, Akhmad Dapat, was captured and turned over to the police for custody and further investigation. The rest of the group escaped.
Herrera told SunStar in a phone interview that the joint law enforcement agencies went to the site after receiving information about the presence of seven unidentified armed men in the area.
"The 17th Special Forces Company,6th SF Battalion and the Regional Operation Group of Philippine National Police Region 9 immediately went to the area and a gunfight ensued when the armed group fought back," said Herrera.
Recovered from the crime scene were one 38-caliber revolver; ammonium nitrate, detonating cord, and blasting cap, which are components of improvised explosive device; and a motorized pump boat.
“The armed group was responsible for kidnap-for-ransom activity allegedly linked with the Abu Sayyaf Group operating in some parts of Zamboanga provinces of Basilan and Jolo. The armed group was involved in illegal drug trade, arm smuggling, extortion and linkage with local terror group,” said Herrera.
Brigadier General Rolado Joselito Bautista, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, lauded the community for reporting the presence of the armed men.
"While our ground troops uphold the rule of engagement, we sustained and strengthen the conduct of joint law enforcement in Zamboanga Peninsula area to contain the lawless elements and pre-empt the conduct of possible atrocities," he said.