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Troops continue to hunt down Kipawan jail raiders

COTABATO CITY - Government operatives recovered two dozens of new Army uniforms and combat boots in a house where raiders of the Kidapawan City jail slept before they carried out the botched attempt to spring their leader from the facility.

Kidapawan City Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco, chairman of the city’s inter-agency peace and order council, said this is an indication that the plan to rescue detained bandit Datukan Samad from the jail was indeed carefully planned.

Policemen and soldiers found the military provisions, which include a first-aid kit, schematic sketches of the streets traversing the area where the city jail is located, and the gunmen’s possible escape routes, inside an abandoned house in a secluded area about 10 kilometers southeast of Kidapawan City.

More than a hundred combatants of the Philippine Army’s 602nd Brigade, and members of the North Cotabato provincial police are still been scouring the surroundings of Kidapawan City in search of some 50 gunmen that tried to rescue Samad.

Three people were killed and 16 others were injured in the attack when the gunmen set off improvised explosive devices, indiscriminate fired B-40 anti-tank rockets, and strafed buildings in the surroundings with assault rifles, when they failed to breach the guarded gate of the city jail.

Samad, also known as Commander Lastikman in his hometown Pikit in North Cotabato, is being litigated for multiple murders, highway robberies, kidnappings, drug-trafficking, and cattle-rustlings and theft of government-owned firearms.

An Army Simba combat vehicle and a platoon-size Army contingent are posted in the immediate surroundings of the jail to prevent a repeat of the bungled attempt to rescue Samad.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo awarded yesterday with merit citations 27 members of the fire and jail management bureaus and a civilian volunteer watchman for thwarting an attempt by some 50 gunmen to spring from jail bandit Datukan Samad from the Kidapawan City jail last Sunday.

The awarding rite, held in Kidapawan City, was witnessed by local officials led by Gantuangco.

Nineteen of the 27 awardees are firemen while the rest are security details from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and a civilian community watchman named Joemar Lizardo, who, all together, fused ranks when they repelled the heavily armed attackers, preventing them from even getting close to the front gate of the city jail.

Among those Robredo awarded with medals were the injured Lizardo, Chief Inspector Romeo Tactaquin, who is Kidapawan City’s fire marshal, and his subordinate-firemen, Jerry Anunciado and Jonathan Cornejo, all being treated of gunshot and shrapnel wounds at a hospital in Kidapawan City.

Samad is just one of 16 “high risk” inmates at the Kidapawan City jail local officials wanted transferred to any detention facility outside of North Cotabato even before Sunday’s bloody incident.
By John Unson 
The Philippine Star
February 24, 2012 12:25 PM


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