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Illegal firearms dealer killed, cohort nabbed in Sultan Kudarat

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group shot dead an uncooperative illegal firearms dealer and arrested another in an entrapment operation on Saturday in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao del Norte that went haywire.

Agents of the CIDG-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region led by Lt. Col. Ariel Huesca had seized from the slain gunrunner Datun Mastura, 56, and his now detained accomplice Norodin Sulaiman, 33, two 5.56 M16 assault rifles during the tradeoff  in Sitio Mamadra in Barangay Limbo in Sultan Kudarat that turned awry.

Bangsamoro police director Brig. Gen. Prexy Tanggawohn told reporters late Saturday that the CIDG-BAR launched the operation after receiving tips from residents of Sultan Kudarat about the peddling of firearms by Mastura, a radiology technician at the Sanitarium Hospital in the same municipality, and Sulaiman, a contractual construction project laborer and an alleged member of the Task Force Ittihad of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Huesca, in a report to PRO-BAR, said Mastura pulled out a gun and opened fire when he sensed he and Sulaiman had sold two assault rifles to non-uniformed CIDG-BAR agents, provoking a brief exchange of gunfire that resulted in his death and left Patrolman Raffy Jacinto Wounded, now in a hospital.

Tanggawohn and Huesca separately told reporters Sulaiman shall be prosecuted for violation of Republic Act 10591 that prohibits possession, or sale of firearms, ammunition and explosives without permission from the national headquarters of the Philippine National Police.

The two senior police officials said Sulaiman shall also be charged with assault on person of authority for having figured in a gunfight first with CIDG-BAR personnel before he yielded after they had neutralized the recalcitrant Mastura, a scion if a big Moro clan in Maguindanao del Norte.