Monday Nov, 28 2022 12:47:27 PM

Farmer dead in latest hostilities in Pikit, North Cotabato

Peace and Order • 11:30 AM Wed Nov 16, 2022
John M. Unson
Members of the 90th Infantry Battalion patrol in an interior area in Pikit, Cotabato. (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY --- An innocent farmer was killed in a clash by rival members of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the hostile Pikit town in Cotabato. 

Lt. Col. John Meridel Calinga, chief of the Pikit municipal police, said Wednesday Nasser Sagubakan Batuwag, 25, died on the spot from multiple bullet wounds. 

Calinga said Batuwag was trapped in the crossfire Tuesday in Barangay Balatican in Pikit between the groups of Commander Gampong of the MILF’s 105th Base Command and Commander Wali who belong to the MNLF.

The enemy commanders, both ethnic Maguindanaons, are squabbling for control of productive farming enclaves in Pikit, according to local residents. 

No fewer than 10 people perished in deadly clashes since last year among feuding groups in Pikit that are locked in deadly clan wars, mostly sparked by political disputes and land conflicts. 

Pikit has been hitting the news for two years now owing to the seemingly unending gun attacks in the municipality. 

At least 34 people perished in a gun attack after another in the municipality since last year, all unsolved.

Local officials told reporters Wednesday they are trying to settle the deep-seated animosity between Gampong and Wali.

Major Gen. Roy Galido, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said Wednesday they will use force to quell both groups if the two commanders refuse to heed calls for them to reconcile.

The running gunfights involving their followers in Barangay Balatican Tuesday sent villagers and pupils in a nearby public elementary school running for their lives. 


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