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MILF leader killed, 4 arrested in CIDG operation against illegal firearms trade

By Edwin Fernandez

In Talayan, Maguindanao Sur, law enforcement in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) eliminated a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) field commander and apprehended four accomplices in a crackdown on gun trafficking on Thursday afternoon.

According to a report on Friday by Lt. Col. Ariel Huesca, the regional head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-BARMM), the deceased suspected gun trafficker was identified as Zaldy Usman from Barangay Tambunan in this municipality.

Usman’s group (was) about to deal high-powered firearms to a poseur-buyer when (one) of them sensed they were being watched and opened fire on lawmen nearby, triggering a brief firefight near a gasoline station,” he said. 

Huesca said Usman, 52, is a battalion commander of the Inner Armed Based Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the armed wing of the MILF.

Arrested were the injured Ibrahim Temanong Satogan, 26, a member of MILF 28th brigade; Basir Baliwan, 37; Ismael Cabagani, an MILF training instructor; and Ari Butuan, 43, all from Talitay town, Maguindanao del Sur.

CIDG operatives, backed by military and local police personnel, also seized four firearms, comprising two M16 rifles, a .45-caliber pistol, and a .30-caliber light machinegun, as well as ammunition, mobile phones, and boodle money.

Currently detained at the CIDG detention facility, the suspects are facing charges of violation of RA 10591 or illegal possession of firearms and explosives. (PNA)

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