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Cops hunt gang tagged in cannibalism
("Inquirer News Service," August 7, 2005)

General Santos City, Philippines - Fear grips residents of remote villages in the boundary of Jose Abad Santos town in Davao del Sur province and Glan town in Sarangani province after the leader of a cult allegedly involved in cannibalism managed to elude arrest.

Police have not yet established the name of the cultist group that became known and feared for eating the liver of their victims and drinking their blood.

Chief Inspector Reynaldo Mascardo, police chief of Jose Abad Santos, told reporters that his men were able to arrest three members of the group.

The suspects -- brothers Angelito and Sabino Latang, and a certain Lito Vicente -- are now detained at the Digos City jail awaiting trial for murder and illegal possession of firearms charges.

They were identified by a certain Kresing Limbudan, a member of the Manobo tribe in Barangay Nuwing, as the ones who stabbed and killed her husband on June 27.

Abandoned farms

Mascardo said he created a team to hunt down the suspects after several residents in Barangay Nuwing and Kitumbod in Jose Abad Santos abandoned their farms for fear of the cult.

Mascardo claimed that the residents found that the group was not only involved in landgrabbing but also in cattle rustling.

"To instill fear among residents, the cannibals kill their victims in full public view. They show to the public their eating of the liver and drinking of the blood," Mascardo said.

Life after jail

The police official identified the leader of the group as a certain Dodong Latang, who escaped from jail in Malita town, Davao del Sur.

Mascardo said Latang went to Nuwing and formed a cult.

Angelito and Sabino Latang were arrested while harvesting coconuts in a plantation owned by one of their victims.

Police recovered from them unlicensed firearms, amulets and a sharp bolo allegedly used in killing their victims.

Other victims of the group were identified as Benjamin Untoy, Cording Amadora and Celso Labiton.


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