ZAMBOANGA CITY – A clash between government forces and lawless elements broke out Wednesday killing the leader tagged in the kidnapping of the son of an election officer.

Lieutenant General Benjamin Mohammad Dolorfino, chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom), said Dimaporo Dimasacal alias Commander Delta Force was killed in the village of Aleem Rayah Karamian, Masiu town, Lanao del Sur.

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Dolorfino said Dimasacal's group is responsible in the kidnapping of Nuraldin Yusoph, 22, last June 20 in the village of Sabala Amano, Marawi City.

The captive is the son of Commissioner Elias Yusoph of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The clash broke out around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when the combined police and military forces encountered Dimasacal’s group in Aleem Rayah Karamian village, Masiu town.

The encounter ensued after the government forces launched pursuit operations against the group of Dimasacal following an ambush Tuesday on troops of the Army's 51st Infantry Battalion in the village of Gata, Poona Bayabao, Lanao del Sur, said Dolorfino.

Tuesday's ambush resulted to the death of a soldier and wounded five others.

"Commander Delta Force (Dimasacal) was killed in the encounter and recovered from him is an M-16 rifle with attached M-203 grenade launcher," Dolorfino said.

The government forces are continuously tracking down the whereabouts of the captive Yusoph as well as the kidnappers in the hinterlands of Kapai town in Lanao del Sur, Dolorfino disclosed.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, for his part, said "it was unfortunate that someone died but we hope this will help in the resolution of the problem."

Commissioner Yusoph, in an interview Tuesday called on President Benigno Aquino III to place Lanao del Sur under military control to ensure the safe release of his son.

“The President should declare martial law in so far as the entire province is concerned because my son is being held hostage. If we continue to tolerate this, it will be a chaotic condition everyday," he said.

The emotional poll official appealed not only to the kidnappers for the safe release of his son but also to local government leaders for them to break their silence on the issue.

"I appeal to the kidnappers not to push me against the wall because if worse comes to worst, I am even willing to sacrifice my life if only to stop this kind of barbaric activities," he added.

Authorities have also said that the group behind the abduction has demanded P25 million from the Yusoph family. (Bong Garcia/Sunnex)