Thursday Sep, 28 2023 01:39:44 AM

`Vendetta attacks’ by cohorts of slain wanted men anticipated

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 13:00 PM Thu Apr 13, 2023
John M. Unson
The firearms of the five men slain in a police operation in Tulunan, Cotabato. (From PRO-12)

COTABATO CITY - Authorities are bracing for retaliations by local terrorists for the deaths of four accomplices, tagged in high-profile crimes, policemen killed in a clash Wednesday in Tulunan, Cotabato.

Local officials, police and military intelligence officials told reporters Thursday Danny Cabakungan and his four henchmen had links with both the Dawlah Islamiya and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Both groups, fashioned from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, are blamed for all deadly bombings in central Mindanao since 2014.

In a statement Thursday, Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg, director of the Police Regional Office-12, said police units in Cotabato province had been alerted about possible attacks by sympathizers of Cabakungan, who was wanted for stockpiling of high-powered and explosives.

Major Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said units of their 602nd Brigade covering parts of Cotabato province are monitoring the movements of armed groups sympathetic to Cabacungan.

“Tulunan is not under our jurisdiction but there are towns nearby that are covered by the 602nd Brigade,” Rillera said.

Local leaders had confirmed that Cabakungan and his followers collected “protection money” on monthly basis from hapless farmers in remote barangays and from owners of passenger vehicles operating in the municipality.

Personnel of different PRO-12 units were to serve Cabakungan and his four companions warrants of arrest from the Regional Trial Court Branch 17 in Kidapawan City, but the attempt to arrest them turned awry when they shot with assault rifles the team approaching their hideout in Barangay Dungos in Tulunan.

Cabakungan and his four companions were killed in the ensuing shootout.

Police forensic experts found beside their cadavers an M14 rifle, an M16 rifle, an M1 Garand rifle, a 40 millimeter grenade launcher and a .45 caliber pistol and components for improvised explosive devices. 


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