- A gun-for-hire and robbery group leader was killed when they fired at cops patrolling the highway
- His fellow group members managed to escape
Police officers patrolling along the highway at Barangay Pagalungan, Polomoloc, South Cotabato have encountered members of a private armed group (PAG) in a brief fire fight that led to the gang leader’s death.
Benzaid Nilong, 40, leader of the Nilong PAG was killed in the 8:40 p.m. Tuesday clash.
Spokesperson of Police Regional Office 12 Chief Inspector Aldrin Gonzales said that “Nilong PAG” was linked to highway robbery cases and were guns-for-hire, including the murder of a deputy Polomoloc police chief in October last year.
According to South Cotabato police, they received intelligence information about a PAG’s plot of a highway robbery along portions of Koronadal-Gen. Santos City highway, particularly in Barangay Pagalungan.
It prompted the police to conduct mobile patrol at the said barangay as preventive measure.
Five men riding two motorbikes without license plates and without headlights were flagged down by police operatives.
But as the cops approached the suspects, they opened fire.
“The suspects fired at our personnel using M-16 rifle cal. 45 pistol as they sped off, triggering a running gun battle,” Gonzales said.
The group’s leader sustained gunshot wounds on his back and died on the spot while his companions managed to evade arrest by running on foot; leaving their motorbikes.
The Police have intensified patrol operations in the area following intelligence reports that relatives of two slain drug personalities during an anti-drug operation on March 2 were out to avenge the death of their two companions.