A mining firm consultant and a police escort were killed by armed men in an ambush in Davao del Sur on Wednesday, a military official said.
Two government soldiers were also wounded in the follow-up operation, according to Maj. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, commander of the Army’s 10th Civil Military Operations Battalion.
The fatalities were identified as Villamindo Hectin, a security consultant of the Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) and a retired police superintendent, and PO1 Roy Tunso of the Kiblawan police station.
Authorities said SMI is a mining firm developing the Tampakan Copper-Gold project in the region.
Obligado said Hectin and Tunso were escorting a water tanker when they were attacked by a still undetermined number of armed men at around 1 p.m. in the vicinity of Sitio Maklak in Barangay Kimlawis village, Kiblawan.
Authorities believe the suspects are members of lawless group Daquil Capion Group.
“This is a bandit group in the area, they have an issue against SMI,” said Obligado.
He added that the leader of the group, Daquil Capion, is opposed to mining in the province. He said Capion is also wanted for murder.
Authorities have yet to determine if the armed group sustained casualties.
Soldiers from the Joint Task Force Kitao and 27th Infantry Battalion have been deployed to the area to conduct pursuit operation against the suspects.