Suspect behind murder of soldier slain in Maguindanao encounter

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Army troopers on Friday killed in an encounter a man suspected to be behind the recent murder of a soldier serving as a front-liner in a community quarantine checkpoint in Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao.

Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, identified the slain suspect as Saidon S. Nilong, an alleged member of the Ansar Kalifa Philippines (AKP) under the Maguid group.

The AKP is a faction of the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) operating mainly in the marshlands bordering Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces in Central Mindanao.

Carreon said Nilong was killed during an encounter with the AKP in Sitio Kampana, Barangay Tabungao in Rajah Buayan town at 4:30 a.m. Friday.

“A firefight lasted for 20 minutes with the terrorists fleeing the clash site and left behind one of their companions who was later identified as Nilong,” he said.

Locals have identified Nilong as one of the leaders of the AKP group frequenting the area of Tabungao.

Soldiers also found improvised bombs and bomb-making components with subversive documents near the remains of Nilong.

Carreon said the suspect was also wanted for his alleged involvement in a 2018 bombing incident in General Santos City.

Nilong and cohorts were allegedly involved in the attack against Pfc. Jerome Tahad of the 33rd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Zapakan, also in Rajah Buayan, on Wednesday night.

The assailants, using 9 mm pistols, posed as regular commuters to deceive the Army personnel while the latter was performing duties as a front-liner at the quarantine control point in Barangay Zapakan.

Tahad was immediately brought by responding colleagues to a hospital in Tacurong City but later died.

“The full might of justice will eventually catch up with those lawless and cold-blooded terrorists who attack our anti-Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) front-liners,” Carreon said.

He said Tahad’s heroism story of sacrifice will never be forgotten and that justice shall prevail.

 Carreon vowed to pursue the remaining members of the AKP group. (PNA)


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