Police, military probe attack on soldiers in Lanao del Sur
ILIGAN CITY — Police and military are now conducting parallel investigations on the killing of two soldiers and wounding of another five in Lanao del Sur on Christmas Eve.
Colonel Madzgani Mukaram, Lanao del Sur police director, said the separate probes by the Army and police aim to establish the flow and the motive of Tuesday’s incident, especially on its likely connection to the attack against a police officer on Monday evening.
A news release from the Army’s 1st Infantry Division (1ID) said the attack on the soldiers of the 55th Infantry Battalion occurred around 7 a.m. Tuesday in Pagayawan, Lanao del Sur.
The 1ID said the troops were on combat clearing operation in the area where Binidayan town police chief, Executive Master Sergeant Amen Lucman Macalangan, was killed in an ambush Monday evening.
The ambush site is some 500 meters away from the detachment of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Sitio Banisilan, Barangay Bandaraingud of Pagayawan town.
According to Mukaram, he asked the assistance of the Army to help them clear the area after establishing that the killing of Macalangan was related to his drive against cigarette smugglers and illegal loggers.
The team of soldiers was assisted by a certain Corporal Nao Mohammad Lassam, the CAFGU detachment commander, who is familiar with the area’s terrain.
Lassam, himself, opened fire on his fellow soldiers while they were on their way to the ambush area, according to the 4th ID.
Killed on the spot were Second Lieutenant Mark Linne Banua and Sergeant Jhanjihan Carumba.
Wounded were Technical Sergeant Randy Esmade, Private First Class Nilo Rubiato, and Privates Roger Amihan Jovanie Calaguian, and Therenz John Francisco. They are now confined in a medical facility of the Armed Forces.
Lassam, described by 1ID as “a scalawag trooper,” fled to an unknown direction after the crime.
“Thorough investigation, pursuit, and manhunt of the perpetrator is on-going. Our unit commanders were directed to cooperate with the friendly forces to apprehend the perpetrator,” said Brigadier General Bagnus Gaerlan Jr., acting 1ID commander.
Because of Monday’s ambush of Macalangan and Tuesday’s attack on the soldiers, Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. has reiterated his earlier call to have the state of martial law extended, even if only in Lanao del Sur.
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