Tuesday Jun, 15 2021 04:17:05 AM

Evacuees return to conflict-stricken South Upi barangays

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 15:00 PM Mon Apr 12, 2021
John M. Unson
Evacuees return to conflict-stricken South Upi barangays (DXMS)

MAGUINDANAO --- Authorities returned Sunday 181 families to two barangays in South Upi town rocked by gunfights last year between two local clans.

The conflict-stricken villagers, mostly ethnic Tedurays, agreed to return to Barangays Lamud and Biarung in South Upi, Maguindanao after the Omar and Datuwata clans reconciled through the efforts of Mayor Reynalbert Insular, the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion and the municipal police.

Local officials led by Insular and Lt. Col. Jonathan Pondanera, commanding officer of the 57th IB, facilitated their return to the two barangays using military vehicles.

The 181 internally-displaced families languished in makeshift evacuation sites inside public school campuses for about four months as a result of the hostilities involving the Omar and Datuwata clans.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, local government minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, on Monday lauded South Upi municipal officials, the 57th IB and the BARMM regional police for initiating the return of the evacuees to Barangays Lamud and Biarung.

The Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence contingent of the Bangsamoro regional government and the office of Insular together extended humanitarian interventions to the 181 families while in relief sites far from their villages.

Insular, chairperson of the South Upi municipal peace and order council, officials of the 57th IB and representatives from the two adversarial groups first signed a peace covenant enjoining both sides to cooperate in maintaining law and order in both barangays before ushering the evacuees back to their homes.

The South Upi municipal police also helped broker the peace agreement between the two clans, according to Insular.

The Omar and Datuwata clans squabbled for control of swaths of arable lands in the two barangays.

The two camps were also locked in a deep-seated political animosity until leaders agreed to reconcile through the intercession of their local government unit, the 57th IB and the police.


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