3 dead, 2 hurt in Cotabato City election-related gun attack

COTABATO CITY (John Unson, Oct. 24, 2023) — Three were killed, two of them candidates for barangay councilor, while two others were badly hurt when gunmen attacked them while setting up campaign posters in a residential area here on Monday night.

The local government here suspended indefinitely the classes in four public schools close to the scene of the incident at the Sousa Extension in Barangay Rosary Heights 12 here that resulted in the death of Nur-Moqtadir Butucan, Alfar Sing Ayunan and Faisal Abas.

The slain Butucan and Ayunan were candidates for barangay councilor in Kalanganan 2 and Rosary Heights 12 here, respectively.

Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza, director of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, told reporters Tuesday Butucan, Ayunan and Abas were declared dead on arrival by physicians at the Cotabato Regional Medical Center here where emergency responders rushed them for treatment.

Two others, Saipul Sapalon and Fajeed Daud, were wounded in the shooting frenzy, whose alleged perpetrators, 12 of them, were arrested in a police operation about four hours later.

Citing an initial report from the Cotabato City Police Office, Nobleza said the victims were together hanging campaign posters in a strategic spot along Sousa Extension when their attackers, armed with pistols and an M16 assault rifle, approached them from two directions, opened fire and immediately escaped,

Col. Querubin Manalang, Jr., Cotabato City police director, said there is a possibility that the candidates Butucan and Ayunan could be the target of the attack.

Manalang confirmed the arrest of their attackers, among them a policeman, by pursuing police teams backed by personnel of the 5th Marine Battalion, who cornered them in houses about a block away.

Manalang said the suspects, Juhalidin Ladesla Abdul, who is a candidate for chairman of Barangay Rosary Heights 12, Police Master Sgt. Pauti Dianal Mamalapat, Jayson Manguda Bansuan, Surin Alon Kamad, Daniel Gumat Paguital, Nordin Gueamel Alay, Mishal Malang Mamalapat, Abedin Saban Guinat, Butch Saban Tepa, Dixie Mahinay Garcia, Arman Mamalangkal, and Ronda Midtimbang Bansuan, are now detained.

Policemen had confiscated from hand-held two-way radios, caliber .45 and 9 millimeter pistols and an M16 assault rifle. (JOHN UNSON)

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