JOINT military and police operatives have captured eight lawless elements and seized 14 high-powered firearms following a firefight in the province of North Cotabato, the military reported Saturday, November 25.
Commander Jennifer Pili, information officer of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the firefight, which lasted for about five minutes, took place in Kudarangan village, Midsayap, North Cotabato, on Thursday, November 24.
Pili said the firefight broke out when the troops of the 34th Infantry Battalion (IB) and policemen were fired upon by a group of lawless elements led by Sukarno Madidis Tayuan while the troops were conducting joint security patrol in Kudarangan village.
The firefight resulted in the capture of seven lawless elements and the recovery of seven high-powered firearms.
Major General Alex Rillera, Joint Task Force (JTF)-Central commander, said the objective of the security patrol was to prevent escalation of a recent armed clash between two warring groups in Kudarangan, Midsayap.
Captured were Mangumpal Tutukan, Ali Usman, Ebrahin Usman, Kadil Kaninda, Jonix Esmail, all residents of Damatulan village, Midsayap; and Solaiman Kamensa and Kevin Ebrahim, both residents of Kudarangan village, Midsayap.
Seized from their possession were seven M14 rifles with magazines and ammunition.
The troops of the 34IB conducted a pursuit operation, which resulted in the capture of another lawless element identified as Tha Usman, a resident of Kadigasan village, Midsayap.
The troop also recovered seven M-16 Armalite rifles and ammunition abandoned by the fleeing lawless group members.
The captured lawless group members and recovered firearms were placed under the custody of Midsayap Municipal Police Station.
Lieutenant General William Gonzales, Westmincom chief, lauded the operating troops for successfully pacifying the chaotic situation in Kudarangan.
Gonzales attributed the success to the strong collaboration between the 34IB and Midsayap Municipal Police Station.
“The apprehension of the armed men must serve as a lesson to those who are planning to create havoc due to disputes and conflicts,” Gonzales said.
“We, the military forces, and our partners from the PNP (Philippine National Police) and other law enforcement agencies work doubly to conciliate rido(s) and sustain peace in the communities,” he added. (SunStar Zamboanga)