FOUR men were killed in an ambush on Friday, August 26, in Pikit town, North Cotabato province, the police announced.

Maj. Maxim Peralta, Pikit police chief, identified the victims as Kalid Selongan, 28; Ray Benias, 47; William Cantonis, 41; and Darwin Cantonis, 28; all residents of Fort Pikit village in the said municipality.

Peralta said the victims were heading home on board a motorbike when gunmen with assault rifles opened fire on them at around 1 p.m. in Manaulanan village.

The victims, all part-time construction workers, went to Lagunde village, still in Pikit, for fishing activity and were heading for home when ambushed.

"Police recovered empty shells for M16 rifles at the crime scene," Peralta said.

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Peralta added that the investigation is still ongoing to determine the perpetrators' identities and the motive behind the murders.

Meanwhile, police in Region 12 have arrested 39 wanted men and seized illegal drugs worth P3.4 million during the weeklong simultaneous law enforcement operations in the Soccsksargen Region.

BGen. Jimili Macaraeg, director of Police Regional Office – 12 (PRO-12), said Friday that of the 39 persons arrested, four are listed as "most wanted" in the region.

"Some 25 wanted persons involved in illegal drugs as peddlers and users were also nabbed," Macaraeg said.

Macaraeg said more than 500 grams of suspected shabu with an estimated street value of P3.5 million were also seized on top of the P156,000 worth of dried marijuana.

On the illegal logging campaign, Macaraeg announced seven police operations were launched that led to the confiscation of 346 board feet of illegally cut lumbers.

Furthermore, police personnel in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato prevented the smuggling of 12 boxes of imported cigarettes and arrested two wanted smugglers.

On the campaign against loose firearms, police arrested eight persons and seized 10 assorted unlicensed firearms.

PRO-12 covers the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani, and the cities of Kidapawan, Tacurong, Koronadal and General Santos.