GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Two alleged rebel couriers tried to smuggle 4 AK-47s for the New People’s Army (NPA), triggering a 5-minute car chase in Tboli town, South Cotabato on Sunday, November 3, the military said.
In a press statement, 1Lt Abel Porto, spokesman of the Army’s 27th infantry battalion, said they set up checkpoints following intelligence reports that a cache of powerful firearms for the NPA guerrillas was to be transported from Tulunan, Cotabato to Tboli in South Cotabato.
On Sunday, police and soldiers flagged down a red Mitsubishi Lancer in Barangay Central in Surallah, South Cotabato. Instead of stopping, the driver and his companion drove past the checkpoint prompting the police and soldiers to give chase.
The suspects were finally caught in Barangay Sinolon in Tboli.
Found in the possession of Ariel Ariano, the driver who is from Barangay San Isidro, Koronadal City, and Alexander Puertogalera from Tulunan, North Cotabato were 4 AK-47s and 15 fully loaded magazines.
The two are now detained at the Tboli police station where they are undergoing further investigation.
Lt Col Shalimar Imperial, commander officer of the 27th Infantry Battalion, said the rebels have stepped up their procurement of firearms. Government seizure of AK-47s in previous raids prove this. Most of them have defaced serial number making it difficult to trace their origin.
Maj. Gen. Rainer Cruz III, commanding general of the AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command, said the intelligence community is verifying reports these AK-47 were brought via transport ships.
Among the areas being monitored is the eastern part of Mindanao, particularly in the Surigao provinces, where there are a lot of mining activities and ore shipment.
Cruz said the firearms came from China. – Rappler.com
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