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ILIGAN, Philippines – The man killed during a joint police and military operation in Lanao del Sur on May 3 was not the brains behind the February ambush that wounded Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. and killed four of his aides, an Army official said.
Brigadier General Yegor Barroquillo, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, said the killed suspect, Oscar Gandawali, had served as the right-hand man of Lomala Baratamo Mandoc who is still being sought by authorities in connection to the ambush of Adiong’s convoy in Maguing, Lanao del Sur, on February 17.
Barroquillo, however, said Gandawali was the main suspect in the ambush that killed five Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents in the village of Malna, Kapai, Lanao del Sur, on October 5, 2018.
At the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in Pulacan, Zamboanga del Sur, last week Army chief Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner Jr. said, “We are now running after the last lawless element who perpetrated the ambush of Governor Adiong. There is only one left, and with the help of the people, we’ll be able to catch this person.”
The February ambush resulted in the deaths of Adiong’s security aides, police patrolmen Juraiz Adiong, Aga Sumandar, and Jalil Cosain, and driver Hassanor Pundaodaya.
Gandawali, who had been ordered arrested by a court in connection to seven murder and two frustrated murder cases, was killed in an operation carried out by the Bangsamoro police and Army soldiers in his house Barangay Pilimoknan in Maguing town. An Army staff sergeant was wounded in the May 3 exchange of firepower.
Bangsamoro police director Brigadier General Allan Nobleza said the heavily armed Gandawali put up a fight, and soldiers found several firearms and suspected shabu (meth) in his house.
The police listed him as the most wanted person in Lanao del Sur, and the 4th most wanted in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Authorities said Gandawali was part of a group that has been into narco-politics, gunrunning, and robbery, and supported the Dawlah Islamiyah terror group in the Lanao area. – Rappler.com