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4 dead in latest gun attacks in Bangsamoro region

COTABATO CITY — Four were killed in separate ambush incidents in two adjoining Bangsamoro provinces nearby and in a gun attack in a public market in Cotabato City in just two days.

The ethnic Iranun neighbors Abdulgani Ayunan and Latip Hadji Gapor were walking together on Saturday night along an unlit stretch of a street in Barangay Piers in Buldon, Maguindanao del Norte when gunmen positioned at one side of the route opened fire, killing them both instantly.

Officials of the Buldon Municipal Police Station and the Maguindanao del Norte Provincial Police Office separately told reporters on Monday that investigators are now pursuing vital leads on the atrocity and are trying their best to identify the men behind the duo’s fatal ambush with the help of traditional Moro leaders barangay officials.

The deadly incident in Buldon was preceded, about two hours earlier, by the murder of passenger vehicle driver Airan Mluk Cader in a public market in Cotabato City.

Cader was shot six times with a .45 caliber pistol by a lone attacker, killing him on the spot.

On Sunday, six men armed with assault rifles killed in an interior area in Mamasapano, Maguindanao del Sur Ansari Salim, an incumbent barangay councilor in one of the barangays in the municipality.

Salim and a companion, Police Staff Sgt. Mansor Sianga, were together in a silver Toyota Hilux pick-up truck that their assailants shot with M16 and M14 assault rifles.

Salim died on the spot from gunshot wounds in the head and in the upper torso. Sianga survived the attack unscathed.

Investigators in the Mamasapano municipal police force are still clueless about the gun attack suspects and their motive for the attack.

Talks are spreading around Mamasapano and nearby towns stating that it was Salim who was the target of the ambush.