Maguindanao, Philippines — A sub-commander of the outlawed Moro armed group eluded arrest during police and military operations in Datu Hofer town, but authorities seized high powered guns and grenade from his residence, police said.
Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director, said lawmen armed with search warrants for murder, multiple murder, bombings and extortion when they raided the house of Kareem Falcon, alias Commander Falcon, in Barangay Tuayan, Datu Hofer town in Maguindanao Saturday dawn.
But the suspect was not in his home when the lawmen swooped down at past 4 a.m.
Tello said the raiding team recovered a hand grenade, an improvised Armalite rifle, magazine and ammunition from Falcon’s home. Two sachets of suspected shabu were also recovered, Tello said.
Tello said Falcon was involved in a rash of killings, robbery and extortion in Maguindanao, preying even on poor Muslim villagers during harvest season.
The police official said Falcon was the leader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who simultaneously fired rocket propelled grenades towards the Maguindanao provincial police office that left a civilian slightly injured last May.
Speaking to reporters, Tello said Falcon has also separate warrant of arrest for his alleged involvement in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao that left 58 people killed, including 30 journalists.
He may have eluded arrest but police filed charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives and illegal drugs so another warrant will be out for him.
Meanwhile, another band of BIFF briefly clashed Saturday afternoon with government forces in Barangay Kilalan, Talitay, Maguindanao, an Army spokesperson said.
Capt. Arvin John Encinas, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said elements of the Army’s 603rd Infantry Brigade clashed with the BIFF forces under a certain Commander Abunawas.
Nobody was injured in the clash but the Army believed it prevented the BIFF from getting closer to the national highway to conduct atrocities against government forces or civilian commuters. (EOF/PNA)