By Aaron Recuenco
A joint police and military team killed the leader of a criminal group and six of his men in a shootout that resulted from the serving of an arrest warrant in Midsayap town, Cotabato.
Brig. Gen. Alfred Corpus, director of the Central Mindanao regional police, said the group of Mama Macalimbol traded shots with policemen and soldiers at around 5 a.m. Wednesday in Sitio Narea, Barangay Timbras.
Corpus described Macalimbol as the fourth most wanted man in Midsayap who had an arrest warrant for multiple attempted murder.
After police confirmed the location of Macalimbol, they sought the assistance of the military because the group is known to have high-powered guns.
When the team, they were reportedly met with a volley of gunfire from at least 10 men headed by Macalimbol. The battle lasted for at least 40 minutes.
After the clash, the bodies of Macalimbol and six of his men were recovered. At least three other gunmen were able to escape.
Seized were three M14 rifles, a machine gun, an M16 rifle, Garand rifles, handheld radios and hundreds of ammunition for long firearms.
Corpus said the firearms and cartridges were turned over to the Cotabato Provincial Crime Laboratory Office in Kidapawan City for ballistic examination.
The bodies of the slain suspects were claimed by their families for burial in Islam rites, said Corpus.