GOVERNMENT troops recovered high-powered firearms following a clash with a bandit group in the province of Lanao del Norte, military officials said Monday, August 19.
Captain Clint Antipala, Army’s 1st Infantry Division information officer, said the clash occurred around 9:50 a.m. Saturday, August 17, in the village of Karkum, Sapad, Lanao del Norte.
Antipala said the troops from the Army’s 5th Mechanized Battalion were on security patrol when they encountered 20 members of the Norjamal Tomarompong group.
The group is allegedly engaged in kidnapping, extortion, and other criminal activities in Lanao del Norte province.
The firefight lasted for about 35 minutes after which the Tomarompong gunmen scampered to different directions.
The troops recovered five high-powered firearms consisting of one M-14, one M-16 Armalite rifles, two Garand rifles and one rifle grenade as well as several rounds of ammunition.
No casualties were reported among the government forces, but the bandits may have sustained casualties as indicated by the bloodstains found along their withdrawal route.
Lieutenant Colonel Rolando Orengo, Philippine Army 5th Mechanized Battalion commander, said “the troops were able to outmaneuver the armed group even if they were in a well-fortified position.”
Brigadier General Ezra James Enriquez, the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade commander, urged the wounded to surrender so they could be given proper medical treatment. He assured their safety and security.
Enriquez also urged the people to cooperate and report to proper authorities “if there are armed groups in their communities.”
Major General Roberto Ancan, Army’s 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the troops for the successful encounter and the recovery of firearms. (Bong Garcia)