By Jospeh Jubelag
Pikit, North Cotabato – Local authorities here have expressed alarm over a series of killings involving two foreign nationals in just a span of one week.
Supt. Bernard Tayong, spokesperson of the North Cotabato provincial police office, said local officials, led by Mayor Sultan Sumulong, asked for the deployment of additional military and police personnel in Pikit town following the killing of Pakistani Ehtesham Ul Haq and American Jeff Michael Keith. Both were killed and robbed in a span of just a week.
Keith, a retired US Army soldier, was shot after he was robbed by two unidentified suspects in Barangay Poblacion here last Sunday. Police said he was inside a delivery van to deliver cookies and candy products at a department store when suspects approached and shot him .
The suspects, who were armed with .45 caliber pistols, shot the victim in front of his terrified wife, Melodina, and their two children. The victim succumbed to multiple bullet wounds in the body.
Before they fled, the suspects took the victim’s shoulder bag which contained P200,000 and other personal belongings.
Ul Haq was shot dead by two unidentified suspects while collecting payment for his money-lending business in Barangay Dalingaoen here last October 24.
After shooting the victim, the suspects also took Ul Haq’s bag which containined P12,000.
Police later arrested one of the suspects in the killing of Ul Haq. They the suspect as Landoni Kasultan, a resident of Barangay Lagundi, Pikit, who was nabbed by police operatives while undergoing treatment for a gunshot wound at the Cotabato Regional hospital in Cotabato City.
Kasultan was wounded after he shot it out with responding policemen and militiamen.
Tayong said probers are conducting deeper investigation if the suspects responsible in the twin incidents belonged to one organized crime group operating in the municipality.
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