MAASIM, Sarangani (January 22, 2009) – A joint military-police raid atdawn Wednesday (January 21) in barangay Pananag nabbed one suspect andrecovered high-powered firearms and war paraphernalia.
The operation was conducted by virtue of a warrant of arrest againstsuspected Lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front Group (LMG) membersresponsible for the August 2008 attack of Maasim municipal hall,police station and the killing of two innocent civilians.
"At around 5am, we arrived in the area and immediately our troopssurrounded the vicinity where the suspects are reportedly hiding,"said 1st Lt. Marvin Maraggun of the 73rd Infantry Battalion."Since our soldiers are close to the houses, they saw the peopleinside throwing items outside," the lieutenant said.
A team of Maasim police moved into the houses and started a search leading to the arrest of one of the suspects caught in possession ofan M-1 Garand rifle.
"He will be charged with illegal possession of firearms other than the case filed against him with the rest of the suspects," said SeniorPolice Officer Leodivicio Ramos, member of the 16-man team who served the warrant.
The warrant of arrest docketed under criminal cases 3043-08, 3044-08 and 3045-08 were against LMG members accused of arson, robbery andmurder.
Military intelligence reports indicated that at least five suspects were taking refuge in the village. Police said two informants identified the arrested suspect who was caught in the possession ofthe M-1 Garand.
Authorities seized the M-1 Garand rifle, M-79 home-made rifle,ammunitions, three pieces of propellant charger for Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) and other war paraphernalia.
These are now under the custody of the Maasim police.According to a military spot report, a certain 2nd Lt. Duazo happenedto stumble on the three propellant chargers which prompted the troops to search for other war materials."They (suspects) were caught in big surprise," Ramos said."We saw them throwing the recovered items outside the house, some ofthem we found just concealed under banana trees near the house," Ramos added.
According to the military, the recovered home-made M-79 rifle was similar to the one fired upon some 300 family evacuees in nearby Ireneo Lopez Elementary School in Lumasal Wednesday last week.
In October 8 last year, a joint military-police search operation in Datu Dani, Kiamba town, led to the surrender of Moro Islamic Liberation Front high-ranking official Victor Watamama."We will not stop hunting those who attacked Maasim poblacion and killed innocent civilians," 73rd Infantry Battalion Commander Lt. Col.Edgardo de Leon said. (Russtum G. Pelima/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)