Adiong ambush ‘mastermind’ arrested

Baratomo has a standing Warrant of Arrest for Murder under Criminal Case 9203-2023 with no bail recommended, according to Rillera

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Joint law enforcement operatives have arrested the principal suspect in the ambush of Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. at a military checkpoint in Surallah, South Cotabato last 17 February 2023.

Joint Task Force-Central commander Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera on Friday narrated that combined police and military authorities were able to pin down the suspect while passing at a checkpoint in Sitio Morales, Barangay Centrala, Surallah, South Cotabato on Thursday.

Rillera identified suspect as Lomala Baratomo alias commander Lomala, a resident of  Bato-Bato, Maguing, Lanao del Sur who has a standing Warrant of Arrest for Murder under  Criminal Case 9203-2023 with no bail recommended.

The JTF-Central chief also revealed that Baratomo is the No.5 Most Wanted Person in the files of the Police Regional Office for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the No.1 Most Wanted Person in Lanao del Sur.

Colonel Andre Santos, 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade Commander, said that since February, police and the military have joined their efforts to trace Baratomo – believed to be a comrade of an insurgent identified as “Otin” who was killed during an armed encounter with authorities a few days after they ambushed Adiong.

Baratomo was immediately turned over to the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office and will be turned over to Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Office for appropriate disposition.

To recall, Adiong was waylaid by heavily-armed suspects in the boundaries of Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur and police alleged that the suspect Baratomo was closely-linked with Oscar Gandawali alas Tacmar who was killed in a police operation in May 2023.

The group of Gandawali is also tagged in narco politics along with its involvement with the Dawlah Islamiyah, an ISIS-inspired terrorist group.

Meantime, Police Regional Office 12 chief Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg lauded the South Cotabato Police for the arrest.

“This success is a testament to the relentless commitment of the PRO-12, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies to protect the communities and bring the criminals behind bars to serve justice to the victims,” Macaraeg said.

With Gilbert Gorgonio

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