2 alleged bomb couriers slain in shootout in North Cotabato

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/ 08 August) – Two suspected bomb couriers were killed in a shootout with soldiers during a highway inspection in M’lang, North Cotabato, around 3 am Wednesday, an official said.

The police in M’lang identified the slain suspects as Allen Nords Salbo and Saligan Patrick Ali, both residents of Barangay Digal in Buluan, Maguindanao.

M’lang Vice Mayor Joselito Pinol said elements of the Charlie Company of the 7th Infantry Battalion flagged down the suspects during a highway check along Barangay Tawan-Tawan in M’lang.

But the suspects did not stop and sped instead toward the poblacion, Pinol said.

Supt. Giovanni Ladeo, officer-in-charge of the M’lang police said that during the pursuit one of the suspects fired his pistol resulting in a shootout.

The suspects sustained gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies, he said.

Authorities allegedly recovered at the scene of incident an improvised explosive device placed inside a paper bag.

The incident brought to three the number of IED recoveries in M’lang this month.

On Sunday, a paper bag with an IED was planted along Magsaysay Street in the poblacion. The next morning, another one was recovered along the highway in Barangay Bagong Tapay.

Pinol said another group was behind the bomb scare in M’lang and nearby areas in North Cotabato.

“During our Municipal Peace and Order Council meeting on Tuesday, we concluded the discovery of the IEDs was just an ordinary criminal activity. We thought this was part of extortion activities of an armed group. There were traders who reported to us they were being extorted by this group of individuals.

“But from the looks of it, this is different. This is not the handiwork of criminals or individuals but a large armed group out to sow panic and terror among our residents here,” he said.

Since August 5, the M’lang municipal government has intensified highway checks in areas identified as exit and entry points of criminals, he added. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)