5 notorious gang members under heavy guard after arrest

SULTAN KUDARAT, Philippines The police is guarding tightly five members of a notorious criminal gang arrested in Kalamansig town to prevent any attempt by cohorts to spring them from detention.

The detainees, Bunao, Usop and Ushik, all surnamed Mangarin, Nimong Agam and Seleno Ugib, were arrested before dawn Thursday in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat.

Senior Superintendent Raul Supiter, Sultan Kudarat provincial police director, said on Friday that measures are in place to prevent their accomplices from getting close to the facility where they are now detained.

The five men were cornered in Barangay Datu Itoh Andong in the seaside Kalamansig town at 4:30 a.m.Thursday by a police team backed by personnel of the 2nd Marine Battalion.

The leader of the criminal gang, Tenti Taup Mangarin, managed to escape while policemen and Marines were surrounding their hideout.

The group is wanted for extortion, robbery and killings of fishermen they first robbed of pumpboats and fishing gears for refusing to shell out “protection money” on periodic basis.

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They were also blamed for the burning last year of the heavy equipment of the Gemma Construction Company, then implementing an infrastructure project in Barangay Itoh Andong.

The arson attack was perpetrated after the owner of the construction firm rejected their monetary demand in exchange for the safety of its equipment and workers.

Local officials said Mangarin and his men preyed on hapless residents of Sultan Kudarat’s adjoining Kalamansig, Lebak and Palimbang towns, relying mainly on fishing at the nearby Moro Gulf as main source of income.

Supiter said the suspects voluntarily turned in four M-16 rifles, a .30 caliber Garand rifle and a .45 caliber pistol when they sensed that they had been surrounded by policemen and members of the Philippine Marine Corps.

Two of them also yielded a fragmentation grenade each.

Supiter said the suspects shall be prosecuted for different heinous offenses and for possession of unlicensed guns and explosives.

He said he is thankful to the Kalamansig and Lebak municipal police offices and the Philippine Marine Corps for helping in the operation that led to the arrest of the five criminal gang members.