POLICE raided the house of the Palimbang town mayor in Sultan Kudarat suspected of keeping a private army and seized unlicensed high-powered firearms on Friday dawn.
Sr. Supt. Raul Supiter, Sultan Kudarat police provincial director, said the police, backed by the Army, raided the house of Mayor Abubakar Maulana in Barangay Poblacion and recovered several firearms and a hand grenade.
“Mayor Maulana was not in his home during the raid,” Supiter said.
Citing intelligence reports, Supiter said Maulana was known to be maintaining a private armed group in his town. Also raided was the house of Maulana’s supporter, a village official of Barangay Maguid, who was not identified in the report.
The village official’s home yielded two M-14 rifles, an M-79 grenade launcher and ammunition.
Another follower of Maulana, identified only as Ali, was arrested by lawmen for carrying a .45-caliber pistol while the police were searching his home in Barangay Botril, Palimbang.
Supiter said the village of Botril was a former training camp of Ansar Al-Kilafah Philippines; an ISIS-allied armed group operating in the provinces of Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat and linked to the Maute terrorist group in Lanao del Sur.
“Someone may have tipped off Maulana about the operation and left his home before the police arrived,” Supiter said of the 2 a.m. raid.
In July this year, police also raided the house of Maulana’s sister, Zahara, in Barangay Labangal, Gen. Santos City.
Zahara is the municipal administrator of Palimbang. Seized from her house were two 9mm pistols and a .40-caliber pistol. Edwin Fernandez/PNA