5 dead in Zamboanga del Norte encounter
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Five people were killed in an encounter in Sirawai town, Zamboanga del Norte, on Friday night, August 31, when unidentified armed men tried to abduct a former militiaman and his wife.
According to initial reports, unidentified armed men held hostage former Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units Active Auxiliaries (CAA) member Rufo Roda and his wife Ellen in the couple's residence in Barangay Piacan in Sirawai past 6 pm Friday.
Neighbors of the couple – one CAA member and 4 civilians – tried to help them but were killed, the initial report said.
The armed men escaped with the couple, using two motorized boats, the report said.
A team from the 42nd Infantry Battalion and Sirawai police headed to the encounter site.
The military and police, with the help of the Philippine Coast Guard, are on hot pursuit operations against the abductors.
The Sirawai government under Mayor Gamar Janihim strongly condemned the incident, and urged residents to alert the military and the police on anything that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators. – with a report from Richard Falcatan/Rappler.com