Armed men killed at least two government anti-drug agents in an attack early Monday morning in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao, officials said.
Derrick Carreon, spokesman for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, named the victims as Pablo June Jala and one Tho, a confidential member of the government agency.
Carreon said two other agents were wounded in the ambush in the township of Sultan Kudarat. All of them worked with the agency's branch in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, he added.
Earlier, the military said that three anti-drug operatives were killed while three others wounded in the attack around 5:20 a.m. local time (2120 GMT).
The anti-drug personnel were on mission to raid a safe house of a notorious drug pusher and had just got off from their vehicle when they were fired by the armed men, said local Army spokesman Colonel Jonathan Ponce.
Superintendent Danilo Bacas, regional police spokesman in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, told Xinhua by phone that a manhunt is on for one member of the anti-drug team after the incident.
"Their operation might have been sabotaged by one of their companions who is still missing until now," Bacas said.
"There's an ongoing pursuit operation to capture the perpetrators," he added.
Police suspect some of the attackers might have links with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country's largest rebel group, as the incident happened near at the rebels' main headquarters.
"We are still determining the group behind the attack but we are looking into possible involvement of some rebels operating in the area," Bacas said.