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Suspect in Gov. Adiong ambush nabbed in South Cotabato —military

Authorities have arrested the “principal suspect” in the February ambush on the convoy of Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr., the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) said Friday.

In a statement, the military said the suspect, identified as Lomala Baratumo, 42 years old, was arrested at a checkpoint in Sitio Morales, Barangay Centrala in Surallah town on Thursday.

Colonel Andre Santos, commander of 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, said Baratumo has a standing warrant of arrest for murder issued by the 12th Judicial Region, Branch 8, Marawi City.

The military and police have been working together since February in tracking the suspect, according to Santos.

Baratumo is now under the custody of the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office and will be turned over to Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Office for proper disposition, the military said.

On February 17, gunmen ambushed the convoy of Adiong in Kalilangan, Bukidnon and killed four of his companions.

The fatalities were identified as Police Staff Sergeant Mohammad Jurai Mipanga Adiong, 40; Police Corporal Johanie Lawi Sumandar, 39; Police Corporal Jalil Ampuan Cosain, 40, and a driver identified only as Kobi.

Adiong and two of his staff were hurt in the attack.

One of the suspects identified only as “Otin” was killed during pursuit operations conducted from February 17 to 19, police said.

Another “prime suspect” in the ambush identified as Oscar “Tacmar" Capal Gandawali was also killed in a police operation on May 3. —Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA Integrated News