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Primary suspect in Adiong's ambush arrested in South Cotabato

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 12:30 PM Fri May 26, 2023
John M. Unson
Saidamen Baratumo is now in the custody of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

KORONADAL CITY - A police team on Thursday arrested in Surallah, South Cotabato one of the two alleged masterminds in the near fatal ambush last February 17 of Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr. in Maguing town in Lanao del Sur.

Brig Gen, Jimili Macaraeg, director of the Police Regional Office-12, told reporters Friday Saidamen Baratumo was cornered by combined personnel of the South Cotabato Provincial Police, the Bangsamoro regional police and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Sitio Morales in Barangay Centrala in Surallah.

Macaraeg said intelligence agents of PRO-12 and counterparts from the Bangsamoro region launched the operation that resulted in the arrest of Baratumo after his relatives in the faraway Maguing town in Lanao del Sur reported his presence in South Cotabato province.

Local executives in Lanao del Sur had earlier said Baratumo and a cohort, Oscar Gandawali, together led the gunmen who attacked the convoy of Adiong at Barangay Bato-Bato in Maguing while en route to the town proper of Wao, Lanao del Sur.

Adiong, who is presiding chairman of the Lanao del Sur peace and order council, and his companions were in separate vehicles when their ambushers, positioned at one side of the highway in Barangay Bato-Bato, shot them with M14 and M16 assault rifles.

Adiong and his office aide, Ali Tabao, were both wounded in the attack that left four others, their backup vehicle driver Hassanor Pundaodaya and police escorts Staff Sergeant Mohammad Jurai Mipanga Adiong, Cpl. Johanie Lawi Sumandar and Cpl. Jalil Ampuan Cosain, dead.

Gandawali, long wanted for high-profile cases pending in different courts, was killed on May 4 in a shootout with members of the Lanao del Sur Provincial Police dispatched to peacefully arrest him in Barangay Pilimoknan in Maguing, but neutralized him instead when he pulled out a gun and opened fire.


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