Armed group leaves behind firearms in encounter with gov’t troops

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 18 August) – Armed men left behind firearms and ammunition in the aftermath of an encounter Saturday morning in the hinterlands of Sapad in Lanao del Norte.

Lt. Col. Rolando Orengo, commander of the 5th Mechanized Infantry Battalion said a joint law enforcement operations team clashed with an armed group as it was serving a warrant of arrest on Norjamal Tomarompong and his followers in Sitio Dimayun in Karkum, Sapad town at around 9:50 a.m. on Saturday.

He said a 35-minute clash ensued between the armed men and the law enforcement team composed of elements from the 3rd Fire Artillery Battalion, 11th Division Reconnaisance Company and the Philippine National Police.

The 45-year old Tomarompong is allegedly the leader of the Tonda Force which is enegaged in kidnapping, murder, extortion and cattle rustling.

Orengo said the firearms left behind by the armed men were an M-16 rifle, two garand rifles, an M-14 rifle, rifle grenade and several ammunitions and empty shells.

Major Victor Leopoldo, Civil Military Officer of 5th Mech said” the armed group wanted to join the Moro Islamic Liberation Front but were rejected.”

The MILF signed a peace agreement with government in March 2014 and since February this year has been leading the government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. It is decommissioning its combatants and weapons starting September 7. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)