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NCotabato families flee after MILF-MNLF clash

August 27, 2010 11:12am

KIDAPAWAN CITY – Some 37 families from a Moro-dominated village in North Cotabato evacuated to safer grounds when some 50 armed men, believed to be members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), allegedly attacked their area, around 5:00 a.m., on Wednesday.

Initial police reports claim that the armed men were allegedly led by MILF Commanders Datumanong Mandigan; Basit Kudalis Inalang, and Daud Macaalay, former councilor of Barangay Salat in President Roxas, North Cotabato.

The attack in President Roxas municipality led to the killing of Manny Ampatuan, the younger brother of Barangay Salat chairman Datu Magalona Ampatuan.

The slain Ampatuan was a commander of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) operating in towns of President Roxas, Kabacan, and Matalam, all in North Cotabato.

Those wounded were Dagul Agmas, one of Ampatuan’s men, and another still unidentified villager.

Cotabato Governor Lala Talinio-Mendoza said the fighting was allegedly between MILF Commander Macaalay and Chairman Ampatuan and his men, who belong to the MNLF forces.

Both belong to the same clan.

Mendoza said their ‘rido’ or clan war was allegedly caused by land conflict, cattle rustling, and theft of rubber cup lumps and other farm products.

The clan wars, according to records from the President Roxas PNP, started a few months before the May 2010 elections.

Last month, at least 30 houses were torched by still unidentified armed men. Another fire incident happened during first week of August.

A series of dialogues between the warring families have already been held at the municipal hall of President Roxas since July but the fighting still continues, Mendoza said.

The Army in North Cotabato has already sought the intervention of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) to pacify the warring families, both belonging to different armed Moro groups.

On Thursday, social welfare staff and local officials of President Roxas, led by municipal vice-mayor Noel Mallorca, distributed relief goods to the evacuees who were temporarily housed at the multi-purpose building of Barangay Kisupaan.

The evacuation site is about a kilometer away from the patrol base of the Army's 38th IB.

Sr. Insp. Benjamin Rioflorido, chief of the President Roxas police force, together with investigators Police Officers 3 Tonggal Salik and Dwight Razon, proceeded to the area to investigate the attack on Thursday. – VVP, GMANews.TV




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