• Army, MILF in Cotabato’s joint anti-drug drive

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    COTABATO CITY: The Philippine Army (PA) troops and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who were once enemies engaged in bloody combat have joined forces in conducting massive manhunt for drug traffickers in North Cotabato.

    Colonel Noly Samarita, commander of the 602nd Brigade based in Carmen, North Cotabato, said 746 Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) mostly from the 118th MILF base command are helping them in tracking illegal drug groups hiding in Liguasan Marsh.

    Samarita is referring to the group of Moks Masgal, alias Commander Madrox, who heads a lost command engaged in illegal activities, including drug trafficking.

    Government forces on August 14 launched an operation against the group of Madrox but failed to arrest him after the troops were ambushed that left three soldiers dead.

    Madrox and his men fled to the marshland on the border of North Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces.

    “The troops came back big-time, this time with MILF troops and we were successful to arrest one of the suspects of the ambush, the son of Madrox,” Samarita added.

    He identified the son as Kamarudin Masgal, 21, who was arrested on Wednesday together with nine persons now being investigated for drug use and trafficking

    Samarita said those arrested admitted they were followers of Commander Madrox.

    He added the young Masgal was one of the suspects behind the ambush that killed government troops.

    Meanwhile, the manhunt for Madrox continues with MILF forces navigating the vast marshland and government forces using rubber boats and night vision goggles.

     JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL

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