COTABATO CITY, Philippine – A bodyguard of a suspected drug lord, a woman, and her two children were killed in anti-drug operation by combined forces of the police and military on Tuesday afternoon, May 2, in Rajah Buayan town in Maguindanao.
The target of the raid was the hideout of a certain Willie Akil Utto, a known drug lord and member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), in the village of Panadtaban, Senior Superintendent Agustin Tello, Maguindanao provincial police director, said on Wednesday.
The raiding team, set to launch operation at around 2 pm Tuesday, were composed of members of the Technical Support Platoon of Maguindanao Police Public Safety Company and soldiers under the 40th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army.
Tello said the raiding team had a search warrant issued by Judge Alandrex Betoya of Regional Trial Court 12, Branch 16.
However, he said, Utto’s men fired upon and lobbed a grenade at approaching authorities, killing civilian Minah Baluntintic and her two children Hassan, 5, and Maharba, 3, who were near the blast site. Two other minors were wounded, including a 12-month-old boy identified as Aldrin.
Tello said one of Utto’s men was killed in the 20-minute gun battle that ensued.
“The suspects later withrew toward the town’s secluded area. The raiding team recovered assorted guns, mobile phones, drugs, and 4 motorbikes at the hideout,” he said.
Tello said stray bullets hit the civilian casualties.
The Maguindanao provincial government assured financial support to civilian victims, but officials will investigate the deaths of the victims. – Rappler.com
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