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Soldiers intercept cache of firearms in Marawi

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

 

ZAMBOANGA City, Philippines - Government troops arrested two persons for attempting to smuggle a cache of assault weapons, including a squad automatic weapon, in Marawi City on Wednesday 
 
The seizure is so far the biggest haul by the authorities since the implementation of the Commission on Elections' nationwide gun ban last January 13.
 
Maj. Edgardo Amores, acting Spokesman of 1st Army Division, said elements of the 65th Infantry Battalion (IB) intercepted the guns shipment at a checkpoint in Marawi City, which was put up in connection with the election gun ban.
 
Amores said that according to Lt. Col. Ralph-Raul Sespeñe, commanding officer of the 65th IB, his forces sighted a white SUV without a license plate as it attempted to evade the checkpoint at Barangay Datu Saber.
 
As the troops flagged down the SUV, they immediately saw one Minimi 5.56mm SAW (squad automatic weapon) being held by the vehicle's passenger.
 
This prompted the soldiers to conduct further inspection leading to the discovery of 11 more high-powered firearms, including a semi-automatic rifle (SAR).
 
Among those seized were a SAW Minimi 5.56 light machinegun, a SAR Galil rifle, a 7.62mm M14, four pieces of Baby Armalite 5.56mm M653 rifles with M203 grenade launchers, two 5.56mm M16 rifle, a caliber .308 sniper’s rifle, one 9mm machine rifle, and a US 12 gauge shotgun.
 
Amores said the two suspects aboard the vehicle were identified as Muslimin Binao Ali and Junaid Ali. They were brought to the Marawi City police for investigation and filing of appropriate case ranging from gun ban violation and illegal possession of firearms.
 
He added that the unregistered vehicle and the firearms were brought to the headquarters of 65 IB for legal disposition processing.
 
Brig. Gen. Daniel Lucero, 103rd Army Brigade commander, which commands the troops in the area, said the two suspects were brought and subjected for inquest at the Marawi fiscal’s office.
 
“We cannot speculate yet as to where the rifles came from and what could be its purpose since the suspects refused to cooperate,” Lucero said.
 
Lucero said they have intensified the checkpoint the Marawi to prevent entry of guns to be used by goons supporting political leaders.

ARMY BRIGADE ARMY DIVISION BABY ARMALITE BARANGAY DATU SABER DANIEL LUCERO EDGARDO AMORES INFANTRY BATTALION LUCERO MARAWI CITY
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