Three suspected carabao thieves were killed and two more persons, including a police officer, were wounded when a shootout ensued during an operation against cattle rustling in Goa, Camarines Sur, early Friday, police reported.
Killed were suspects Jemuel Rodriguez, Jupiter Brebon, and a certain “Junior” Panuelos, residents of Ocampo town, according to a report from the Bicol regional police.
An operative was wounded after being grazed by bullets on one leg and hand, the report said.
One Tomas Panuelos, another suspect from Ocampo, was found wounded during pursuit operations.
Members of the Provincial Intelligence Unit, along with lawmen from Goa, Ocampo, Iriga City, and the Provincial Mobile Force Company carried out the operation in Brgy. Pinaglabanan, around 3:30 a.m.
The operation, called “Coplan Carnage,” was launched after police received a series of reports on stolen carabaos and information about the animals’ supposed transport.
Upon arriving at the area, operatives spotted a group of men loading four carabaos into a closed van and accosted them.
Those men, however, immediately opened fire so the lawmen retaliated, police said.
Three were killed on the spot and four men managed to flee the site but one, later identified as Tomas, was found wounded in Brgy. Cagaycay, still in Goa.
Police are still tracking down the group’s alleged leader Jobert Fedelino, a native of Ocampo; an alias “Criz” of Tigaon, and an alias “Bryan” of the province’s Rinconada area.
Investigators are also still trying to determine where the stolen animals would be brought to, and if other people are involved in the cattle rustling operation.