Tuesday Jul, 23 2019 03:56:35 PM

Feuding groups in Pagalungan in standoff

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 13:30 PM Fri Jun 28, 2019
John M. Unson

MAGUINDANAO  --- Hundreds of villagers were displaced by gunfights this week between two groups in the politically troubled Pagalungan town in this province.

The rival factions, one led by Butoh Mantol and the other comprised of followers of defeated mayoral candidate Mokamad Andoy, first fought using assault rifles and grenade launchers in Barangay Cudal in Pagalungan town in Maguindanao early this week, sending hundreds of villagers running for their lives.

Police and military officials in the province told reporters Friday Mantol is a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Andoy, who was defeated by Pagalungan’s reelectionist mayor, Salik Mamasabulod, during the May 13 mayoral polls, is reportedly hostile to the group of Mantol for having supported the candidacy of the now second-termer town mayor.

Reports from the 602nd Brigade, which has jurisdiction over Pagalungan and Montawal towns, both in Maguindanao, and nearby areas in North Cotabato province, indicated that both rival groups have suffered casualties in the gunfights that dislocated innocent villagers.

The newly-installed commander of the Western Mindanao Command, Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said he has ordered the 6th Infantry Division to seek the help of MILF leaders in Pagalungan in resolving the conflict.

The Pagalungan local government unit is now attending to the needs of the more than 200 families displaced by the hostilities.

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