Ex-town councilor killed in anti-drug operation in North Cotabato

PIKIT, North Cotabato (MindaNews/11 October) – A former town councilor was killed during an anti-drug operation here at dawn on Tuesday, police said.

Supt. Maximo Sebastian, commander of the Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operations Task Force in Region 12 who led the raiding team, identified the slain former town councilor as Dindo Piang.

Armed with nine search warrants, police backed by 7th Infantry Battalion troopers of the 602nd brigade and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-12 operatives, raided at 2 a.m. Tuesday three residential compounds near the town public market in Barangay Malaulanan.

“Piang is listed as a high value target in this co-planned operation. He resisted arrest and opted to shoot it out with lawmen, our troops responded accordingly,” Sebastian said.

Policemen seized from Piang a .45 caliber pistol. He was brought to a local hospital but died from his wounds.

Piang ran for vice mayor of Pikit in May this year but lost.

Sebastian said among the houses searched was owned by Nasser Karim, son of Senior Inspector Sindatu Karim, incumbent deputy police chief of Pikit.

Police seized from Nasser Karim several high-powered firearms, including four M-16 Armalite rifles, two M-14 rifles, several ammunition and hand-held radio equipment.

But police later discovered that one of the M-16 rifles in the the younger Karim’s possession was issued to one of the 44 Special Action Force commandos who died during the operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in January 2015.

“This was properly identified and verified by our comrades in SAF during the verification and documentation of firearms,” Sebastian said.

Meanwhile, Col. Noly Samarita, 602nd Brigade commander advised Army and police units in his area to watch out for possible retaliation due to the raid.

“We are most willing to work with our policemen in the drug war and law enforcement”, Samarita said.

In a local radio interview, the elder Karim defended his son saying the latter amassed the seized firearms only for self-defense against his enemies. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)