By NITZ ARANCON
SOLDIERS from the 4th Mechanized Brigade of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division arrested two people at a checkpoint in Barangay Nangka, Balo-i town in Lanao del Norte late last week.
Camp Alagar spokesman Supt. Surki Sereñas identified the suspects as Emma Saidomar Ossamah, 31, and driver Aminladen Pacalna of Tugaya, Lanao del Sur.
Sereñas said the suspects were riding a blue Toyota Innova, with license plates AOY-001, en route to Marawi City, when they were flagged down at a checkpoint of the 4th Mechanized Brigade.
He said the soldiers were seized an MK2 grenade and two .45 caliber pistols with three magazines loaded with 23 bullets.
The arrest came after a 15-minute firefight between government troops and armed men in front of a military headquarters at around 10 am on Friday.
The brigade’s commander, Lt. Col. Bernardo Taqueban, said that prior to the firefight and recovery of the firearms, troops were fired upon by armed men riding in an light blue Avanza that was heading towards Marawi City.
He said soldiers searched the Matawi-bound vehicles: a gray Hi-Ace with conduction sticker VL 5381 and a white Toyota Fortuner with license plates AOY001.
Ossamah maintained that she is innocent and had nothing to do with the firearms supposedly found in her bag. She said she and her uncle had attended a hearing at Iligan’s Hall of Justice and were just returning to Marawi.
Pacalna, the driver of the vehicle where a grenade was supposedly found, said that he was only hired by the group to drive to Iligan City and back to Tugaya, Lanao del Sur. (with reports from Nora Sorino and Sita Asequia)