Two persons were killed and six others, including a barangay chairman, were injured in an ambush in Cotabato City on Wednesday morning, police said.

Killed were Brgy. Rosary Heights 5 chairman Amil Sula’s 18-year-old niece Sherasmine Salik Abdullah and the van’s driver, Paik Sultan, Cotabato City Police deputy chief for operations Supt. Marlou Martinez said.

Sula, his wife Jenna, aunt Baikan Salik Abdullah, Muslima Mita Salik, Taya Macalnas, all suffered bullet wounds to the different parts of the body.

The barangay chairman’s 7-year-old daughter is in critical condition, Martinez, who is also the city police’s spokesman, said in a phone interview.

A distant cousin of Sula, identified as Bai Jasmine Abdullah, and a 12-year-old relative survived the attack unscathed.

Sula, his family, and relatives were travelling along Don Rabago st., Brgy. Rosary Heights 4, on a Toyota Hi-Ace van (BEL-263) around 7:15 a.m. when an undetermined number of armed men fired upon their vehicle.

Within city proper naman ‘yun although hindi ‘yun masyadong dinadaanan, dun sila tinambangan sa may sementeryo… binakbakan sila hanggang sa napahinto sila dun malapit sa DPWH building,” Martinez said.

The attackers used high-powered firearms and “many” empty cartridges of different calibers were found at the scene, he said.

Police conducted checkpoints in different parts of the city after the incident, but the operations have so far yielded negative results, Martinez said.

Sa ngayon, ang intelligence operatives natin ay naka-deploy lahat, naghahanap tayo ng information, bini-beef up din ‘yung mobile patrolling natin,” he said.

Investigators have yet to determine the motive for the attack, but are not discounting the possibility that it was politically-motivated, according to the police official.

“Open pa ‘yun (political angle), lahat ng anggulo, kakausapin muna natin si kapitan, para malaman natin kung anong motive, sa ngayon lahat open pa,” Martinez said. (John Roson)

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