By Joseph Jubelag
GENERAL SANTOS CITY– Suspected members of the ISIS-inspired Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines terror group killed on Wednesday two policemen while conducting patrol in an outskirt village in Polomolok, South Cotatabato.
Lt. Col. Alex Joe Orcajada, Polomolok police chief, said the four policemen, aboard two motorcycles, were conducting patrol in Barangay Koronadal Proper, Polomolok when waylaid by seven heavily-armed gunmen believed to be AKP members led by Jeoffrey Nilong.
He said two of the policemen, Patrolman Bryan Costello,34 and P/Cpl Witzel Russ Betantos,32 were killed during the attack. The victims succumbed to multiple bullet wounds on their bodies from M-16 Armalite rifle.
Government troops have launched manhunt operations against the suspects who fled towards Barangay Datal Bob in nearby T’boli town.
Authorities tagged the AKP remnants group led by Nilong as responsible for the killing of several policemen in the locality including Senior Inspector Herman Gabat who was gunned down in a local restaurant in Polomolok in September, 2017.
Brig. Gen. Alfred Corpus, Police Regional Office-12 director, condemned the attack against the policemen and ordered a massive manhunt against the perpetrators.
Police said the suspects are also engaged in the illegal drugs trade, gun-for-hire, and carnapping activities as sources of their operational funds.
“The attack was carried out against the police after local police authorities conducted law enforcement operations against the terror group in the locality,” Orcajada said.
AKP is founded by Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, an estranged Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader who pledged allegiance to the ISIS until he was killed during a military operation in Kiamba, Sarangani in January, 2017.
Nilong, also an MILF member, assumed the leadership of the AKP which operates in SOCSARGEN (South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos) area.