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Azurin orders massive hunt for Maguindanao ambush suspects
PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. on Wednesday said a massive hot pursuit operation is already underway to arrest the gunmen who ambushed a group of policemen in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, killing the local police chief and one of his men and injuring two others.
The officers led by the late Ampatuan Municipal Police Station Chief Lt. Col. Reynaldo Samson were about to serve warrants of arrest for robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons against a number of criminal targets when the heavily armed suspects waylaid (ambush) them.
“We already have the identity of the suspects, and our personnel [is] working double time to bring justice to where it should be. We ask for the public to be vigilant in their surroundings and report any suspicious-looking men in their area,” Azurin said.
The top cop expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of Lt. Col. Samson and Corporal Saliuden Endab, who both died in the attack.
Also wounded in the ambush were Corporals Rogelio dela Cuesta Jr. and Marc Clint Dayaday.
“They were fulfilling their duties as law enforcers when confronted with such violent action. Their loyalty to their commitment to serve and protect the nation will be remembered,” Azurin said.
Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Police Regional Office Director Brig. Gen. John G. Guyguyon confirmed the killing of Samson and his security escort/driver Endab.
The official said that the policemen were on their way to arrest several targets in Barangay Kapinpilan when they came under heavy fire from the suspects shortly before 10:00 a.m.
Ampatuan is the place of the infamous Maguindanao Massacre on November 23, 2009, which left 58 persons, many of them media workers, dead.
The ambush came in the wake of a province-wide gun ban enforced by the police and the Armed Forces last August 16 to help secure the September 17 plebiscite that would determine if the province would be split into two.