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MAGUINDANAO DEL NORTE, Philippines – Authorities killed on Wednesday, May 3, the primary suspect in the ambush that hurt Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. and killed four of his men in February.
Killed was Oscar Capal Gandawali alias Tacmar, who was listed by the police as the most wanted person in Lanao del Sur, and the 4th most wanted in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
BARMM police director Brigadier General Allan Nobleza said Gandawali was killed during a joint operation by the police and soldiers from the 5th Infantry Brigade under the Special investigation Task Group (SITG) Governor Adiong in the village of Pilimoknan in Maguing town, Lanao del Sur.
An Army staff sergeant was wounded during the operation, authorities said.
Nobleza said the group was trying to arrest the suspect based on court warrants but he allegedly put up a fight.
Authorities said Gandawali was heavily armed, and they found various firearms, suspected shabu (meth), and drug paraphernalia after killing him.
Police confirmed that Gandawali was the main suspect in the February 17 ambush of Adiong’s convoy which resulted in the death of four of his aides along the boundaries of Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon provinces.
The ambush, which authorities earlier said was carried out by a group linked to narco-politics, killed patrolmen Juraiz Adiong, Aga Sumandar, and Jalil Cosain, and Adiong’s driver, Hassanor Pundaodaya.
Aside from the attempt on Adiong’s life, Gandawali and his group were suspected to be responsible for the October 2018 ambush of narcotics agents in Kapai, Lanao del Sur. Five Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents were killed in that attack.
Nobleza said Gandawali, who was also linked to the Dawlah Islamiyah terror group, had seven murder and two frustrated murder cases.
Police alleged that the suspect’s gang supported the ISIS-inspired group, and was into gunrunning, robbery, and illegal drug distribution in Lanao del Sur and adjacent areas. – Rappler.com
Ferdinandh Cabrera is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.