Monday Jun, 01 2020 10:03:43 PM

MILF infighting sends civilians fleeing

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 16:15 PM Tue Oct 15, 2019
736
By: 
Edwin O. Fernandez
Civilians in DAtu Montawal, Maguindanao, displaced by armed hostilities queue to receive relief goods provided by the local government unit. (Datu Montawal PNP)

DATU MONTAWAL, Maguindanao  – A long standing territorial dispute between members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Maguindanao erupted anew Monday and set about 500 families fleeing to safer grounds.

As the warring gunmen traded bullets, education officials also suspended classes Monday and today. Elders, mothers and children rushed to the town center of Datu Montawal, Maguindanao when the protagonists started exchanging bullets at the break of dawn Monday.

Brig. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr, 602nd Infantry Brigade commander, said involved in the hostilities are members of the MILF who both claimed ownership of vast tract of lands in Barangay Dungguan, Datu Montawal, Maguindanao.

He said an amicable settlement had been reached between warring families facilitated by the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ceasefire committee on Sunday. However, both ignored the agreement and started shooting at each other that forced civilians to flee.

The military had to launch artillery fires on Monday afternoon to separate the warring groups. Rosario said it was not an organization fight but “rido” (clan war) involving MILF members. MILF leaders have been trying to reach out to warring parties for them to disengage and allow the evacuees to return home.

Classes have to be suspended in Balogo Elementary School in Barangay Dungguan, Datu Montawal town in Maguindanao after two warring armed groups started shooting each other over territorial dispute. Balogo Elementary School principal Eskak Esmael said classes remained suspended today (Tuesday) while tension remained high in the village.

Classes were also suspended in Matalam Farm Resettlement Elementary School in Datu Montawal and Mamalimping Elmenetary School in the adjacent town of Pagalungan, also in Maguindanao.  

 

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