BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/06 August) – A policeman was killed while another one was wounded in an ambush today in Barangay Bit-os here.
According to initial police investigation, an improvised explosive device exploded first near the motorcycle of the two victims before the attackers fired at them.
PO2 Adonis Sumaboc died on the spot, while PO2 Sergelio Salagusti Jr. was severely injured in the right leg and sustained wounds in other parts the body and was brought to a local hospital.
Bit-os village chief Victor P. Carampatana, who was the first to respond together with his barangay police said that they found Salagusti hiding in a ditch on the roadside shouting for help.
Carampatana said they noticed that the two victims no longer had their firearms with them, and that these might have been seized by the attackers.
Inspector Antonio Clados Jr. of the Mayor Action Network (MAN) and team leader of the explosive and ordnance division of the city police office said he believes the ambush was related to the anti-illegal logging operations of the local government.
“These police personnel are part of the 7-man team that guards the confiscated logs deposited at the Butuan Esperanza Veneer and Plywood Corporation in Barangay Amparo. This is a planned attack and I’m sure they know who they’re targets are. These men are the first victims in our war against illegal logging,” said Clados.
He said members of the New People’s Army (NPA) could be behind the attack since the group is earning from illegal logging operations.
Chief Inspector Ferdinand Dacillo, officer in charge of the City Public Safety Company also said that the ambush was related to the anti-illegal logging campaign.
He added the attack carried the signature of the NPA.
Police and army personnel have been deployed to conduct pursuit operations,” said 1Lt Nestor P Endozo Jr., executive officer of Alpha Company of the 58th Infantry Battalion.
The ambush occurred less than a kilometer away from a detachment of the police Regional Public Safety Battalion. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)