Zamboanga del Norte town vice mayor shot dead in ambush

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 11) — Baliguian Vice Mayor Gani Esmali and two of his companions were shot dead in an ambush in Zamboanga del Norte Saturday morning.

Police said more or less five unknown gunmen attacked Esmali's vehicle upon reaching Sitio Barazon, Barangay Sta. Maria in Siocon town at 11:20 a.m.

The two other victims were identified as Police Patrolman Godelito Corbita Bongcac and Jaymalin Jalabi Tunggal.

They were declared dead on arrival at the Siocon District Hospital while a certain Abduladjid Ibno Bairula survived.

Authorities are now hunting down the perpetrators, who quickly fled on board a gray Toyota Hilux.

Police said the suspects used high-powered firearms.

A total of 49 fired cartridge cases of what is believed to be an M16 rifle and an extended aluminum magazine loaded with 19 live ammunitions were recovered from the crime scene.

Esmali is the latest local government official to be ambushed. Just last December, Vice Mayor Akmad “Mitra” Ampatuan of Shariff Aguak was wounded in an ambush in the Maguindanao town.

More than a dozen local officials have been killed under the Duterte administration, according to data released by the Department of Interior and Local Government in February 2019.