Saturday, June 3, 2017

2 hostages rescued in Zamboanga clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 3): 2 hostages rescued in Zamboanga clash

A farmer, who was taken as human shield, was killed in a pre-dawn rescue operation Saturday by security forces in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, officials said.

Chief Supt. Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) director, on Saturday said pursuit operation was immediately launched following a skirmish on Tuesday, May 30, in a nearby town of Sirawai.

"Armed men took three civilians as human shield when pursued by our troops," Beltran said.

Sr. Supt. Edwin Buenaventura Wagan, Zamboanga del Norte police director, said troops managed to rescue two of the three hostages.

"Unfortunately, one of the [three] hostages was killed in the crossfire," Wagan said.

Killed was Ronie Tangupan. Rescued were Marjun Alano, 29, and Carlo CariƱo, 23.

Wagan said the lawless elements that figured in a firefight with security forces on Saturday in Barangay Reconalla, Siocon was the same group the military clashed with on Tuesday in Barangay Do¤a Cecilla, Sirawai.

On Friday evening, the police received information from residents of Reconalla "about the presence of armed men and the hostage taking incident."

Wagan said policemen and soldiers rushed to Sitio Dumayum, Barangay Reconalla to verify the report.

"Along the way, pursuing troops met more or less 10 families evacuating from their residence due to fear and proceeded to the barangay hall of barangay Reconalla where the barangay officials were waiting," he said.

"At about 4:30 a.m., they (operating troops) were fired upon by the armed men. The firefight lasted for about five minutes with no casualty reported from the government side,” he said, adding that "this is where the armed men took the three civilians."

Running gun battle ensued between pursuing troops and the lawless elements until the "armed men have again attempted to hostage other two civilians identified as Edison Maquilang and Joseph Pangaral but were able to escape and rescued by the blocking troops in the area," Wagan said.

Hot pursue operation is still ongoing in Barangay Makiang, Siocon.

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