Village councilor shot dead in Masbate

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NAGA CITY, Philippines—A councilor of Barangay Puro in the municipality of Aroroy in Masbate was shot dead on Wednesday evening by two unidentified gunmen, the Special Task Force Masbate said on Thursday.

Inspector Dexter Panganiban, task force spokesman, identified the victim as Felix Alfurnan, 54, who was attacked by two gunmen on a motorcycle. Alfurnan was rushed to the Aroroy Municipal Hospital but was declared dead on arrival, Panganiban said in a text message.

The task force consists of Philippine National Police and Philippine Army personnel and is assigned to go after the owners of loose or unlicensed firearms, private armed groups, and fugitives in the province.

The assailants, according to Panganiban, fled toward  Barangay Panique in Aroroy. Recovered in the crime scene were a slug and a spent shell from a caliber .45 pistol.

Checkpoints were set up in Masbate on Thursday to help track down the killers, he said.

The killing of Alfurnan was the first reported murder in Masbate in April. The province is reeling from three election-related killings in March, two of which remain unsolved.

Masbate is considered a hotspot by the Commission on Elections due to the province’s history of political violence, and the presence of private armed groups and proliferation of loose firearms.

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