By Aaron Recuenco
Six suspected members of a robbery group were killed after they shot it out with local policemen who hunted them down after they preyed on a group of passing traders in Lallo town of Cagayan late Tuesday night.
Senior Supt. Warren Gaspar Tolito, director of the Cagayan Provincial Police Office, said among those killed was Gener Dunag, leader of the group which has been operating mostly in the second district of Cagayan.
Tolito said a motorist, who witnessed a group of armed men robbing the drivers and passengers of three delivery trucks along the national highway of Barangay Bicud in Lallo town at around 10 p.m. raised a complaint with the authorities.
The motorist, he said, initially reported the incident to the barangay officials, who in turn, reported it to the police.
“Based on the ensuing investigation, it appeared that they flagged down the trucks and robbed the drivers and the passengers, including the local traders who were transporting their goods,” said Tolito.
The official said policemen were immediately deployed to the area. At the same time, other police units were alerted over the possibility of pursuit operations.
When the cops arrived, they saw one of the victims, identified as truck driver Ambot Rabago, who was shot by one of the gunmen.
Tolito said the victims told the responding policemen that the suspects were on board a white van and were all armed.
“Our personnel were warned about this and this was factored in in the conduct of checkpoints,” said Tolito.
At around 10:30 p.m., the white van was intercepted at a checkpoint in Barangay Bangag also in Lallo town but the suspects on board reportedly opened fire at the policemen manning the checkpoint.
A shootout occurred and led to the death of Dunag and five of his men.
Tolito said the sixth suspect, identified as 34-year old Reyes Duyao, was able to flee but was arrested later during the pursuit operation.
Seized from the suspects were several handguns, some P140,000 cash and the cellular phones and other personal belongings they took from the victims.
Based on investigation, Dunag is a native of Pinukpuk town of Kalinga who married a native of Sanchez Mira town of Cagayan. All the members of the group are natives of Kalinga.
The group is reportedly targeting traders, particularly those transporting goods that pass by Cagayan. Their last victim was a certain Gloria Bautista, a businesswoman from Pamplona, Cagayan whom they robbed of P70,000 in cash and other gadgets on October 26. (Aaron Recuenco)