Authorities shot dead the alleged leader of a kidnapping group and arrested five of his followers, including two former soldiers, during an operation in Surigao City, Wednesday afternoon, a police official said.

Dino Patosa, head of the kidnapping group, was killed when he and his men shot it out with members of PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, CIDG chief Dir. Samuel Pagdilao Jr. said.

Patosa’s followers – identified as Globert Aleria, Gerry Obenita, both former Army members; Julito Beling, Norie Apac, both of Surigao Del Norte; and Ronald Brunio, of Cagayan De Oro City – were arrested after the encounter.

The shootout around 3:30 p.m. occurred while CIDG teams from Surigao Del Norte and Surigao Del Sur, along with members of the PNP Maritime Group, were conducting a checkpoint in Brgy. Ipil.

The operation was launched after the CIDG in Caraga received a report on Nov. 9 that Patosa’s group was planning to abduct a member of the prominent Laurente family, Pagdilao said.

Aleria, Obenita, and Brunio were arrested when they were spotted roaming near the Laurentes’ residence on a motorcycle, apparently to serve as “lookouts,” Pagdilao said.

Another motorcycle with three men on it arrived minutes later but evaded the checkpoint, prompting the CIDG teams to give chase.

The operatives eventually caught up with the suspects when they tried to pick up a companion who fell off the motorcycle during the chase.

This was when the suspects fired at the lawmen, who retaliated and hit Patosa, Pagdilao said.

Aside from the two motorcycles, the CIDG operatives seized a fragmentation grenade, two caliber-.45 pistols, a homemade caliber-5.56 revolver, and several rounds of ammunition, from the suspects.

Patosa’s group is also engaged in gun-for-hire and robbery activities in the Caraga region, Pagdilao said. (John Roson)

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