8 killed in war against drugs in Matalam 

COTABATO CITY( MindaNews/ 09 July) — Eight persons were killed and one was arrested in a police operation against an alleged notorious group involved in illegal drugs in Matalam, North Cotabato early Saturday morning.

Superintendent Maximo Sebastian, head of the raiding team from the Regional Police Office-12 said they were forced to fire back as a volley of fire greeted them when they swooped down on Sitio Quiapo, Barangay Poblacion Matalam, North Cotabato at 2:30 a.m.

“The place is known (for harboring) armed lawless individuals. During our surveillance, when we arrived to serve the search warrants, they opened fire, so he fought back hard”, said Sebastian.

There were no reported casualties on the police side.

He said investigation also revealed that the place is also a sanctuary of notorious big time drug pushers, who are involved in hold-up and carnapping activities

Sebastian noted there was an exchange of gunfire for about ten minutes, followed by a hot pursuit operation.

When the smoke cleared, eight persons were found dead: Lamping Mamakan, Taingko Lamping, Haron Lamping Mamakan, Abuzaid Runas, Tahir Kasan Salipuddin, Mustapha Tausi Mangapan, Mama Musha  and Jobaina Lumantag.

Arrested was Aratok Iba Balabagan.

The raiding team, composed of members of the Special Action Force, Regional Public Safety Battalion, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Provincial police command also recovered one unit of cal. 45 pistol, one unit of cal. 38, four hand grenades and five sachets of suspected shabu and paraphernalia. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)