4 killed, including 2 minors, in Maguindanao anti-drug drive

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SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: Four persons, including a woman and her two children, were killed when drug suspects opened fire at government forces serving search warrants on Tuesday in Radjah Buayan, Maguindanao, police said. Slain were Normina Tantong and her children and one of the suspects whose name remained unknown. Senior Police Officer 2 Mohammad Ampatuan, Radjah Buayan town police chief, said police, Army and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives were serving search warrants against Ruben Baluntintik, Wally Akil Utto and Candao Utto, who are on PDEA-ARMM drug watch list. “But the suspects opened fire and lobbed hand grenades toward government forces,” Ampatuan said, adding that government forces were unaware of the mother and the children in the house. Capt. Arvin John Encinas, of the 6th Infantry Division, said one of the suspects was found dead a few meters away from the scene while the two others, believed wounded, escaped. Ampatuan said Panadtaban has been known as a trading area of prohibited drugs in Radjah Buayan and nearby municipalities. Mayor Zamzamin Ampatuan of Radjah Buayan was saddened by the news that civilians who have nothing to do with illegal drugs had to suffer the consequence of illegal drugs.

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