COTABATO CITY (PNA) — An anti-drug operation in Maguindanao province Tuesday turned bloody when the subjects of a search warrant opened fire at government forces in a remote village in Raja Buayan, Maguindanao, police said.
Among the fatalities were a mother and her two children, aged five and an infant, according to Raja Buayan Mayor Zamsamin Ampatuan.
Senior Police Officer 2 Mohammad Ampatuan, Raja Buayan town police chief, said the subjects of the search warrant opened fire and lobbed grenades toward government forces in Barangay Panadtaban at about 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The shootout led to the death of Normina Tantong and her two children. The five-year-old died at a hospital in Shariff Aguak town Tuesday night. Also killed was one of the suspected drug pushers.
Agents of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PDEA-ARMM), backed by police and soldiers, were to serve the warrant against a certain Akung, Ruben Balutintik and Candao Utto.
Town Mayor Ampatuan said the village of Panadtaban has been known as a trading area of illegal drugs.
Ampatuan said he was sad the suspects did not even think of their relatives in the house when they opened fire at the government forces.
He said the trading of prohibited drugs in the village is allegedly protected by the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.