KABACAN, North Cotabato: The North Cotabato Police Provincial Office (NCPPO) has formed a special investigation unit to look into the killing of nine persons at a secluded section of Barangay Poblacion here on Saturday.
Killed on the spot in the 12:30 p.m. shooting incident along Aringay Road in the Poblacion were Kors Salilangan, Sandigan Zailon, Benladin Dimanalao, Romeo Balatamay, Katindig Kagayawon, Fahad Mandigan, all from this town; Budsal Lipusin of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao; and Musaid Jaiden of Midsayap, North Cotabato.
The ninth victim, Tong Guiman of Barangay Aringay, Kabacan, died hours after he was rushed to a local hospital.
Maj. Peter Pinalgan, Kabacan police chief, said Col. Henry Villar, provincial police director, ordered the creation of the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to resolve the multiple angles shrouding the incident.
The SITG would comprise the Kabacan police, the NCCPO intelligence unit, and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) North Cotabato.
“We would like to determine who the killers are, where the victims came from prior to the shooting incident, and what led the perpetrators to shoot them,” Pinalgan told the Philippine News Agency in an interview Sunday.
Initial police investigation disclosed that some five suspects armed with high-powered firearms stopped the motorcycle-riding victims along the provincial road at the rear section of the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) campus and subsequently fired at them for still unknown reasons.
“The SITG is also set to establish who the main target of the killers is and if there really was a shootout as earlier mentioned by witnesses,” Pinalgan said.
He said Guiman, while critical in his hospital bed, was able to relay some details of the incident before he died. Police crime scene investigators disclosed that the slain victims were not armed when found.
Pinalgan reiterated that the incident is not a police operation as earlier surmised “as cops merely responded to the incident.”
Recovered at the crime scene were 32 empty shells from an M16 rifle, M1 Carbine rifle, and .45 caliber pistol.
He said the SITG is also set to determine as to what type of vehicles the killers used in their escape as there are also conflicting reports.
“Some of the witnesses said the killers used a pickup truck while others disclosed they sped off aboard motorcycles while escaping,” Pinalgan said.
Pinalgan said there are several “persons of interest” currently being monitored but he declined to comment further.
(John Andrew Tabugoc/PNA/SNY/RSP)
Categories: Bangsamoro Region