2 soldiers die, 5 hurt in Lanao Sur Christmas Eve ambush


ZAMBOANGA CITY — Two soldiers were killed while five others were wounded in an ambush in Lanao del Sur on Tuesday, a top military official said.

Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan Jr., the Army’s 1st Infantry Division acting commander, said the ambush occurred in Barangay Bandaraingud, Pagayawan, Lanao del Sur at about 7 a.m.

Gaerlan said the troops were on the way to the site of an ambush that happened in Barangay Bandaraingud on Monday when they were waylaid by a “scalawag soldier”, identified as Cpl. Nao Mohammad Lassam.

He was unable to divulge the identities of the slain and wounded soldiers, except to say they belonged to the Army’s 55th Infantry Battalion.

Gaerlan, who is also acting commander of the Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao provinces), expressed his condolences to the families of the slain soldiers.

“Thorough investigation, pursuit, and manhunt operation of the perpetrator is ongoing. Our unit commanders were directed to cooperate with the friendly forces to apprehend the perpetrator,” he said.

Gaerlan also assured the best medical care for the wounded troopers for their speedy recovery.

Killed in Monday’s ambush, also in Barangay Bandaraingud, were police chief of Binidayan town, Executive Master Sgt. Amen Lucman Macalangan, and his driver Ramel Pangcatan.

Macalangan’s two other companions — police non-uniformed personnel Asliah Adiong and policeman, Patrolman Nasser Arafat — were unhurt.

Col. Madzgani Mukaram, Lanao del Sur police director, said the victims were returning to Binidayan from a weekly oversight meeting at the provincial police headquarters in Marawi City when they were waylaid.