Authorities identified the slain agents as Pablo June Jala and a confidential agent identified only as Tho. They died on the spot, reports said.
Wounded were PDEA-ARMM intelligence officers Mark Anthony Viray and Brian Babang.
SPO2 Datu Paris Talusan, chief investigator of Sultan Kudarat PNP, said the operatives on board their vehicle were on their way to search a suspected drug den in Barangay Dumalangcob when waylaid by some 30 armed men.
The suspects used M-16 and M-14 assault rifles as evidenced by several empty shells recovered in the ambush site, just few kilometers away from the town’s municipal police station, Talusan said.
Sr. Insp. Samuel Subsuban, Sultan Kudarat police chief, said the exchange of fire lasted for about 30 minutes. He said they have yet to find out if there were casualties among the assailants.
Police hinted the ambushers knew the operatives were coming and that their plan to attack a suspected drug den could have leaked.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Ponce, spokesperson for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the PDEA-ARMM agents were virtually outnumbered.
“It was unfortunate they (PDEA agents) failed to ask for military or police support while they were in the area,” said Ponce. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)