A LEADER of a syndicated crime group and his members managed to elude arrest when the police forces raided their hideout in the nearby province of Basilan, a police official said Thursday.

Basilan Police Director Antonio Mendoza said the raid was carried out around 5 a.m. Thursday in the village of Balagtasan, Lamitan City, Basilan.

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Mendoza said the group leader of the Fernandez Criminal Group, Reynante Fernandez, and his followers managed to escape following a brief firefight with the raiding policemen.

Mendoza said the raid was carried out to serve the warrant of arrest on Fernandez and his followers after it was confirmed that they are hiding in a hideout in Balagtasan village, Lamitan City.

He said the group was wanted for murder, robbery, and kidnapping in Basilan province.

The raiding team recovered three homemade shotguns and two hand grenades from the suspects' hideout.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group is preparing to file charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives against the suspects, Mendoza said. (Bong Garcia)