Armed men attack a candidate’s convoy | The Manila Times

CITY OF ZAMBOANGA: Unidentified gunmen attacked the convoy of a mayoral candidate in the town of Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay province, and injured village militia, police said on Friday.

Police said the gunmen, who were in two pick-up trucks, opened fire on Mickel Argus’ convoy in the village of Mahayahay. Argus and his team emerged unscathed from Thursday’s attack, but the shootout injured Juan Abarca Jr., 47.

Argus, a retired police colonel, is running against incumbent mayor Jarvis Acosta.

Major Shellamie Chang, spokesman for the regional police, citing a police report, said the alleged motive for the attack was political rivalry.

“Two oncoming black vans, allegedly from outgoing Mayor Acosta, passed by the location of the Argus team convoy and came to a stop within approximately 30 yards. Subsequently, a flurry of gunfire from of the two black vans fired at the Argus team convoy.As a result, the victim (Abarca Jr.) was hit in the left leg and was immediately taken to Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Hospital for treatment” , Chang said.

Chang said police investigators recovered more than two dozen different casings from the area.

“The victim was taken to Ipil Emergency Hospital for medical treatment, and the recovered items are now in the custody of Siay Municipal Police Station for proper disposal. A chase operation is being conducted by the Siay municipal police station and [members of the] QRT (Quick Reaction Team), while PMFC (Provincial Mobile Force Company) and neighboring municipal police stations were notified of the incident and carried out the control operation,” she said.

Prior to the shooting, one of Argus’s men confronted Abarca, who was then in Isidro Talipan’s garage, and conducted a body search for an as yet unknown reason. Abarca is under the employment of the municipal government of Siay, Chang said.

“Initial investigation revealed that prior to the incident the Argus convoy stopped at Purok 3, Crossing Barangay Mahayahay, at this location a civilian from the Argus team carried out a body search on the auxiliary staff of LGU Siay who was, at that time, in the garage of Isidro Talipan, a citizen of the region.The mayoral candidate Argus then appeased his team and went to Barangay Bagong Silang and after several minutes, the convoy beckoned back to the area where the LGU Siay auxiliary was standing. The convoy stopped more or less 100 meters from the crossing,” she said, adding that’s when the two vans arrived and from a distance of 30 meters opened fire on Argus’ convoy.

There was no immediate statement from Acosta’s side if any of his men were involved in the attack.

Security forces were ordered to control political rivals and maintain peace in the city.

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