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5 hurt in grenade attack

CARMEN, North Cotabato (PNA) – Five persons were injured here when an unidentified man tossed a hand grenade in a house where a village official was dining with friends Friday night, police said.

Chief Inspector Julius Malcontento, Carmen town police chief, said the grenade attack transpired in a house in Purok Pag-asa, Barangay Gen. Luna, Carmen, North Cotabato at about 6:45 p.m.

Malcontento identified the victims who sustained shrapnel injuries as David Orteza, 50; Joel Aragon; Henry Nobleza, 54; and Darwin Ortiz, 15, a special child, all residents of Barangay Gen. Luna, and Armando Aquino, 51, of Barangay Barangay Aringay, Kabacan, North Cotabato.

Malcontento said Barangay Gen. Luna chairperson Renato Ortiz Jr. and his companion-farmers were having dinner in the house of one Larry Mundo in Purok Pag-asa who was hosting a dinner with the four farmer victims in his home in Purok Pag-asa when a man tossed a hand grenade and quickly fled.

Chairperson Ortiz was unhurt.

“Our initial finding shows it was triggered by land dispute involving the victims and the attacker,” Malcontento said. He refused to reveal the names of personalities involved in the land dispute.

Responding police officers chased the suspect who managed to elude arrest under cover of darkness.

Malcontento said the police Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) are still determining the kind of hand grenade used by the attacker.

Meantime, a man long wanted for rape charges is now in jail after the local police arrested him hundreds of kilometers from here.

Malcontento said Egong Basalan, alias Dong-Dong, was arrested by Carmen police in Sitio (sub-village) Unicarbai, Barangay Basiawan, Sta. Maria, Davao Occidental or about 170 kilometers east of this town.

Malcontento said his office had received very reliable intelligence information about the presence of Basalan in Sta. Maria town.

After confirming the validity of the information, Malcontento formed a tracker team to serve the arrest warrants issued by Regional Trial Court 12th Judicial Region Branch 16, presiding Judge Alandrex M. Betoya for rape charges.

“Basalan is the No. 4 most wanted person of Carmen,” Malcontento said of the suspect who was surprised Carmen police was in a house he was staying in Sta. Maria town.