Explosives, illegal drug paraphernalia and high-powered firearms recovered in Maguindanao

While conducting intensified military operation, troops of the 90th Infantry Battalion and the 61st Division Reconnaissance Company seized assorted firearms and other war materiel in Barangay Bentan, Talitay, Maguindanao yesterday morning, May 16.

The military operation was immediately launched to contain the escalation of conflict and protect the civilian community in the area, after a reported firefight between the private armed groups of Vice-Mayoralty candidates Montasir Sabal and Suraida Ameril the other day.

Hundreds of residents in the area were forced to evacuate to give way to the pacification effort of the JTF Central troopers.

They were immediately assisted by the JTF Central, local government unit of Talitay and other stakeholders.

The operating troops intervened with the warring groups and conducted clearing operation to bring back normalcy in Barangay Bentan.

While scouring the area, troops were able to recover one M16 rifle, 4 M653 rifles, 2 M203 rifles, 2 M14 rifles, 1 M79 rifle, 1 Garand rifle, 2 Thomson, 1 Carbine, 1 homemade shotgun, 1 KG9 Luger, one 60mm mortar, 1 Baofing Radio, 15 pcs large plastic drums (suspected to be anti-personnel mines), 12 PVC anti-personnel mine and 4 hand grenades.

“We recovered these war materiel which were hastily left along the route of withdrawal of the private armed groups. Our clearing operations continue to this time,” said Lieutenant Colonel Crizaldo A. Fernandez, Commanding Officer of the 90IB.

Meanwhile, the 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal of the Philippine Army are currently checking the plastic drums suspected to contain anti-personnel mine components and illegal substance for bomb making.

603rd Brigade Commander Colonel Wilbur C. Mamawag said that the firefight between PAGs in Barangay Kilalan was contained because the military immediately intervened to prevent its escalation particularly between the supporters of rival political families.

Joint Task Force Central Commander, Major General Cirilito E. Sobejana commended the troops of the 90IB and 61DRC for their recent accomplishments.

As of this report, the displaced residents are safely sent back to their respective homes with the assistance of Army troopers.

“I would like to personally commend the troops of the Joint Task Force Central for this very successful operation,” said Lieutenant General Arnel B. Dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command. WESTMINCOM