Suspect in Maguindanao massacre, 2 others killed in Cotabato City shootout
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—A suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre and two of his companions were killed in what police say was a shootout with lawmen who were about to serve an arrest warrant before dawn Monday.
Senior Superintendent Rolen Balquin, Cotabato City police director, identified the slain massacre suspect as Muktar Kindo Santo, who carried a P250,000 reward for his arrest.
Also killed in the shootout were Guiamaludin Buisan and a still unidentified man.
Balquin said a team of soldiers and policemen had gone to a house in Tanghal Subdivision here where the suspect had been sighted to serve a warrant for his arrest around 5:30 a.m.
“They opened fire at approaching lawmen, triggering a firefight,” Balquin told reporters.
Balquin said the slain men had been implicated in a series of killings in the city and nearby towns.
Santo was allegedly a member of the now dismantled private militia of the Ampatuan clan in Maguindanao.
“One of them was shot while in the act of removing a safety pin of a fragmentation grenade when lawmen barged inside the well-fenced house,” Balquin said.
Balquin claimed the three planned to execute a target in the city but he refused to identify the would-be victim.
Police recovered one M-16 Armalite rifle, a cal. 45 pistol, six hand grenades and various identification cards.
The death of Santo came four years and seven months after the massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, in which 58 persons, 32 of them journalists and media workers, were killed in what is now known as the country’s worst election-related violence and attack on media persons.
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