8 killed, 8 hurt in NCotabato anti-drug operations

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MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato: At least eight persons were killed and eight soldiers were wounded during anti-drug operations before dawn Sunday in a village here, authorities said. According to Col. Noly Samarita, commander of the Army’s 602nd Brigade, a firefight erupted when joint government forces were to serve warrants of arrest against a certain Commander Mabrook, leader of armed lawless elements in Barangay Nabalawag, Midsayap, North Cotabato at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday. An Army report identified four of the fatalities as PO3 Darwin Espallardo of the North Cotabato police, Corporal Jose Miravalles, Private First Class Jaypee Duran, both of Division Reconnaissance Company, and an unidentified military guide. Four followers of Mabrook, including his brother, were also killed in the six-hour fighting. Capt. Joan Petinglay, spokesperson from the 6th Infantry Division, said eight government security personnel sustained minor injuries and are undergoing medication at Camp Siongco hospital. She said Mabrook and his followers were engaged in illegal drug activities in the boundary of North Cotabato and Maguindanao. It was not clear if Mabrook was among those killed or arrested.

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