By Ali G. Macabalang
(Attached is a WMC-supplied photo showing a civilian house in which the three soldiers and their motorcycle were recovered alongside the civilian fatality.)
Three soldiers and one civilian were shot and killed by unknown perpetrators Thursday morning, Jan. 14, according to the Western Mindanao Command (WMC).
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., WMC commanding general, said the shooting incident transpired at around 8:45 a.m.
He said the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion (MIB) was tipped by a civilian informant regarding a shooting incident in the boundary of Poona Piagapo and Pantao Ragat, Lanao del Norte.
“Troops immediately responded and proceeded to the area to validate the information. Upon arrival, the responding team discovered 4 dead bodies with gunshot wounds,” Gen. Vinluan said.
He said prompt verification showed three of the fatalities were personnel of the 43rd Mechanized Company under the 4th MIB stationed at Tangclao Detachment, Poona Piagapo.
In the WMC report, Lt. Col. Domingo Dulay, 4th MIB commander, said the three soldiers were “onboard a motorcycle to go on marketing when the incident happened.”
He said troops from his battalion conducted pursuit operations and coordinated with police elements in Poona Piagapo and Pantao Ragat “for investigation.”
Meanwhile, 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade head Brig. Gen. Facundo Palafox said they were “still establishing the circumstances and we do not have any other information at the moment.”
He said fourth fatality was a civilian sans an identity yet, adding the names of the slain troops were withheld pending “notification to their next of kin.”
Joint Task Force ZamPeLan chief Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio condemned the incident as “terroristic act” the military would not let pass without corresponding proper sanction.
Gen. Ponio vowed to exhaust resources under his disposal for the “immediate identification and neutralization of the perpetrators.”
The WMC report was coupled with a photo of a civilian house in which the four cadavers and the soldiers’ motorcycle were reportedly recovered. AGM