By Aaron Recuenco
Fierce fighting broke out between a group of heavily-armed men and local policemen who were out to arrest them in the town of Madamba in Lanao del Sur on Wednesday night.
The clash resulted in the wounding of eight policemen and the death of the two people who were the subject of the arrest warrant for murder, according to Col. Bernard Banac, spokesman of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
He identified the wounded cops as Police Captains Gevero and Boglosa; Police Senior Master Sergeant Panitan, Police Staff Sergeants Olete and Cadano; Police Corporals Rosco and Masakal; and, Patrolman Montallana.
Banac said Police Corporal Gilbert Males was reported missing and is believed to have been held hostage by the gunmen.
“The 55th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and the Madamba local government unit have provided rescue teams to help search and recover the missing PNP personnel,” said Banac.
The official said combined forces from various local police forces of Lanao del Sur proceeded to Barangay Tabaran in Madamba town at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to implement the arrest warrant.
The subjects of the arrest warrant for murder were Usop Malubay Abdulaziz, Macalatas Abombay, Zanodin Moro Macaltas Ameril, Alican Macabuntal alias “Midig Usman” and Usman Barating Macabuntal.
The group affiliation of the gunmen was not immediately established.
But the cops were met with a volley of gunfire from the heavily-armed men, according to Banac.
“A patrol car used by operating troops was burned after being hit by an M203 grenade fired by the suspects,” said Banac.
When the firefight subsided, two of the suspects were found killed, they were identified as Zanodin Moro and Macalatas Ameril.
Recovered from the slain suspects were two M16 Rifles, and one M16 Rifle with attached M203 grenade launcher.
The other gunmen who attacked the policemen were able to escape and are now being hunted down by the police and the military.