On February 24, 2017, at about 8:35 AM, an urgent call received by personnel of City Intelligence Branch, Iligan City Police Office from Stephanie Adiong, one of the victims regarding the Carjacking Incident. Immediately personnel of Iligan City Police Office led by PSSUPT LEONY ROY GA, Acting City Director and Chief, CIB conducted hot pursuit operation and alarmed all PNP units including the PNP- SAF Coy Commander; Police Station 4, ICPO, Patrol Unit, ICPO and 4th Mechanized Battalion against the armed suspects in Tagoloan, Lanao del Norte.
The effective anti-crime strategy of Iligan City Police Office with the full support of the City Government of Iligan City led by Hon. Celso Regencia and the Joint Peace Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC) resulted to the successful immediate police action and neutralization of carjacking suspects who are members of the Maute Group.
Firefight lasted for about 45 minutes in which suspects laid dead on the ground. One of the suspects was identified as AZAM AMPATUA TAHER, armed with a Shooter’s Raven Caliber .45 Pistol with serial number R02050429 and the other suspect was found dead in the other side of the road near Macadar Patrol Base of 9th LDN SCAA identified as certain alias "WOWIE", armed with M16 bushmaster with serial number VX1777804 and ammunition. EYEMEN CANULO ALONTO, one of the carjackers was arrested by personnel of ICPO during the hot-pursuit operation. Upon recovery of cellphones and notebook in the crime scene and the testimony of arrested suspect, it was revealed that AZAM was one of the responsible in a series of murder incidents and atrocities in areas of Lanao del Sur, Marawi City, and adjacent provinces, these includes: the ambush slay of Major Jerecho Mangalus and CPL Libot last February 16, 2017, in Marawi City (the .45 cal. pistol of Major Mangalus was recovered in the possession of the arrested suspect); the kidnapping of Elma and Alex Bagnol last January 25, 2017; the carnapping and kidnapping of Toyota Vios Taxi with its driver (still missing) at Sanitarium Hospital Iligan City last February 13, 2017; the beheading of two sawmill workers from Iligan City in Butig Lanao del Sur sometime in 2016; the foiled assassination attempt of CPNP RONALD DELA ROSA during his visit in Marawi City and other crimes in Lanao del Sur areas.
As part of the arrested suspect’s revelations, on February 28, 2017 at about 4:15 AM, personnel of ICPO, 103rd SAC, 1st SAB, SAF, LDSPPO, RPSB ARMM, CIDG 10, SOCO ARMM, 103rd BDE, 1st ID and 15th MICO conducted a joint operations at the vicinity of Brgy Bansayan Poona Bayabao Lanao del Sur that resulted in the exhumation of a cadaver allegedly from a certain “Delapena”, accordingly he was a driver of a carnapped Toyota Grandia Van whose incident details cannot be determined yet. The cadaver was brought to Mary Venus Funeral Homes, Acmac Street, Iligan City.
The arrested suspect is now charged before the prosecutor’s office with NPS number X-08-INQ-17B-00109 for the crimes of Carnapping, Illegal Possession of firearms and illegal possession of explosives. Meanwhile, the dead bodies of Azam and Wowie were already claimed by their relatives.