ISLAMIC CITY OF MARAWI (MindaNews/14 July) — Army soldiers killed the alleged leader of the kidnapping gang that abducted Noraldin Yusoph, son of election Commissioner Elias Yusoph, in a gunbattle in the town of Masiu in Lanao del Sur late Wednesday afternoon.
One civilian was hurt after Dimaporo Mari-in Demasakal alias Kumander Delta Force, the alleged kidnap leader fired at a house which did not open to him as he tried to flee from the pursuing soldiers.
Demasakal died from a hail of bullets as pursuing soldiers caught up with him at around 4 this afternoon, Brig. Gen. Ray Ardo, chief of the Army 103rd Infantry Brigade, said.
Ardo said Demasakal was responsible for the ambush Tuesday of a team of soldiers in Poona Bayabao town who were guarding the equipment of Regenox Company, contractor of the Lake Lanao circumferential road.
Army officials deployed a team to run after Demasakal and his band following the killing of a soldier and five others in the ambush.
“He and his men used a boat to cross Lanao Lake from Poona Bayabao to Masiu. Unfortunately we received information they have crossed to Masiu by boat,” Ardo said.
Poona Bayabao town Mayor Lampa Pandi said a banca operator met Demasakal and his men as they were navigating in the lake and immediately informed the authorities.
“Demasakal is a familiar figure here because of his criminal activities,” Pandi said.
Ardo said Demasakal tried to flee from the soldiers by running and hiding in a succession of houses until one of the residents gathered enough courage not to let him in.
“When he fired his gun, our soldiers were alerted. He was killed trying to fight back,” Ardo said.
Recovered from the body of Demasakal was an M203 rifle and a bandoleer of ammunition, the military said.
The body of Demasakal was brought to Marawi City at around 7pm and was turned over to Mayor Minda Dagalangit of Lumba Bayabao, Demasakal’s hometown.
Meanwhile Ardo said it will be a matter of time for them to rescue the young Yusoph.
“I expect a major development before the day ends tomorrow,” he said.
He said information they were able to gather revealed Demasakal “turned over” the young Yusoph to another group of kidnappers “ for a fee. (MindaNews)