AFP, PNP nab top suspect in Gov. Adiong ambush

(Photo via Lade Kabagani)

The joint operatives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police on Thursday arrested the primary suspect in the ambush of Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. that killed his driver and three police escorts on 17 February.

The 42-year-old suspect, identified as Lomala Baratumo, alias “Commander Lomala”, was arrested at a checkpoint in Sitio Morales, Barangay Centrala, Surallah, South Cotabato on 25 May.

Col. Andre Santos, 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade Commander, said the Joint Task Force Central of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry “Kampilan” Division and the PNP have been working together since February to locate the suspect.

According to the Kampilan Division, Baratumo has a standing warrant of arrest for murder and is tagged as the fifth most wanted person in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. He was also one of the most wanted persons in Lanao del Sur.

The alleged mastermind of the ambush, identified as Oscar Tacmar Capal Gandawali, leader of the Gandawali private armed group, was killed in an encounter with police officers earlier this month.

South Cotabato Provincial Police Office temporarily took custody of Baratumo pending his turnover to the Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Office.

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