Tuesday Jul, 23 2019 04:04:10 PM

UPDATE: Ex-gov's son, jail escapee, 3 others killed in shootout with Army

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 12:15 PM Sat Jul 6, 2019
John M. Unson
The bullet-riddled vehicle of the five men killed in a shootout with soldiers in Pikit, North Cotabato. (John Unson)

NORTH COTABATO --- A son of a former governor and four companions were killed in an alleged shootout Friday night with soldiers in a roadside checkpoint in Pikit town in this province.

Major Arvin Encinas, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command, said Saturday soldiers in a checkpoint along a highway in Barangay Inug-ug in Pikit, North Cotabato were forced to neutralize the five men on a Nissan Patrol bearing license plates LEM 521 when they opened fire while its driver was being directed to stop for inspection.

Responding police investigators and barangay officials identified the driver of the bullet-riddled vehicle as Hashiem Matalam, son of the late Norodin Matalam, former governor of Maguindanao province.

Investigators said one of the four fatalities, Abdullah Mamalumpong, is a fugitive, one of more than 20 detainees who escaped from the North Cotabato provincial jail in Kidapawan City in a daring jailbreak more than a year ago.

Matalam, Mamalumpong and their three companions, Botod Concon, Alex Sanduyugan and Ganto Pasandalan, all died on the spot from bullet wounds.

Senior intelligence officials in the Police Regional Office-Region 12 told reporters one of the five men was jailed for a period for possession of shabu, but kept his name meantime while an extensive investigation on the incident is still underway.

In his report to the WestMinCom and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, Brig. Gen. Alfredo Rosario of the 602nd Brigade said soldiers and police probers found assorted firearms, including an M16 assault rifle, a grenade and methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) in the vehicle of the slain men.

“Apparently there was extreme provocation so the Army personnel in the checkpoint were forced to engage them in a gunfight,” Encinas said, citing initial reports from the 602nd Brigade.

The soldiers who figured in the shootout belong to the 7th Infantry Battalion, a component unit of 602nd Brigade.

The 7th IB has been guarding strategic stretches of the Cotabato-Davao Highway in Pikit and in the adjoining towns of Pagalungan and Montawal, both in Maguindanao, since Thursday following a spate of clashes between two rival partisan Moro groups in a barangay located along the nearby Liguasan Delta.


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