Police, military hunt for 2 who escaped bloody Maguindanao firefight

John Unson - Philstar.com
Police, military hunt for 2 who escaped bloody Maguindanao firefight
A police V-150 combat vehicle guards the entrance to the hideout of the 12 gunmen killed by law-enforcement teams in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on Jan. 23, 2021.
Philstar.com / John Unson

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — The military and police are looking for two accomplices of the 12 gunmen killed in a bloody law enforcement operation in Sultan Kudarat town Saturday.

Municipal officials and barangay leaders identified the duo as Hajer Mama and Jason Guiabel, who escaped as their companions fell in a firefight with personnel of the police Special Action Force and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said Monday that military intelligence units been directed to help the CIDG-BAR locate Mama and Guiabel.

Uy said intelligence units of the 2nd Marine Brigade in Sultan Kudarat and nearby towns have also been tapped to help.

Reports reaching the office of Police Brig. Gen. Samuel Rodriguez, police director for the Bangsamoro region, indicated that Guiabel and Mama left their firearms as they scampered away.

Police Staff Sgt. Elenel Pido of the 4th Special Action Battalion under the Bangsamoro regional police was killed while four other SAF members were wounded in the clashes on Saturday.

The attempted arrest early Saturday morning went haywire when the gunmen shot with assault rifles the raiding teams approaching their hideouts in Barangay Limbo in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

SAF operatives killed Pendatun Talusan, Abdullah Talusan, Bembi Talusan, Randy Talusan, Abdul Mubarek Talusan, Khadafi Esran, Ahyot Degan, Abdul Patah Buday, Samsudin Ali, Bulod Adam, Butoh Minandang and Sangkupan Minandang in the ensuing five-hour clash that sent villagers running for their lives.

Rodriguez said Monday the attempted arrest was carried out according to procedure, but that the operation went awry when the gunmen resisted and opened fire.

CIDG-BAR operatives and forensic experts from the Bangsamoro Police Regional Crime Laboratory collected six M16 assault rifles, a 7.62 Belgian FN assault rifle, a .22 caliber bolt-action rifle, a .50 caliber Barret sniper rifle and a .45 caliber pistol beside the bodies of the gunmen.

In separate statements, the CIDG-BAR and the office of Rodriguez said the slain members of the “Talusan criminal ring” were wanted for frustrated murder, homicide, vehicle theft and collection of protection money from local traders and trafficking of methamphetamine hydrochloride, most known as shabu.

Rodriguez said the slain gunmen were also implicated in the fatal ambush from between 2017 to December last year of no fewer than 15 off-duty policemen and soldiers who were going home while on break.

The culprits took the service firearms of the police and Army ambush fatalities with them as they fled on separate motorcycles after each attack.

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