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4 killed, an infant and a boy included, in Maguindanao drug raid

RAJAH BUAYAN, Maguindanao —Four people were killed, including a baby and a teenage boy, in a police-army anti-narcotics raid on Tuesday afternoon in a town in Maguindanao.

Police investigator of Rajah Buayan town PO2 Mohammad Ampatuan said troops from 40th IB and the Maguindanao police were about to serve a search warrant for "illegal drugs" at a house in a compound in Brangay Panadtaban at 2 p.m. when suspects engaged authorities in a firefight.

“Bursts of gunfire and a grenade blast greeted us, forcing our troops to fire back,” Ampatuan said.

Fierce gun battle erupted, and when troops got into the target house, they found a bloodied woman, later identified as Normina Tantung, a teenager named Kadil, and an infant —all dead due to shrapnel and bullet wounds.

Near the house, authorities found a body of a man, who was suspected to be a drug courier, he added.

Targeted during the raid were notorious drug traders in the area identified as Wally Akil Utto@Akung, Ruben Balintutik, and Kandaw Utto.

They managed to escape during the firefight, but police received information that two of them were wounded, PO2 Ampatuan said.

Meanwhile, spokesperson for the  6th Army Division Captain Arvin Encinas said that the suspects  had been freely operating in the area because rogue Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) protect them.

On the other hand, Rajah Buayan Mayor Zamsamin Ampatuan said that the suspects use the town as transshipment point for shabu  in the Liguasan Marsh area, having Central Mindanao as their market.

The mayor said, “I am sad that the suspects still fired grenades and fired at arresting officers while their family members are still inside the house not concerned of the consequences of their action.”

Recovered from the encounter scene were suspected shabu, drugs paraphernalia, Thompson automatic pistol, ammunition, and motorcycles. —LBG, GMA News