Tuesday May, 28 2024 12:27:59 PM

Thousands displaced as rival Moro groups clash in Maguindanao del Sur

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 21:30 PM Tue May 7, 2024
John Felix Unson

COTABATO CITY --- Local officials are struggling to disengage two feuding Moro factions in Mamasapano town Maguindanao del Sur that clashed again last Sunday after a five-week lull in hostilities, sending innocent villagers running for their lives.

Senior officials of Army units and the Maguindanao del Sur Provincial Police Office told reporters on Tuesday that the two groups, one led by Zainudin Kiaro and the other by a certain Commander Badruddin, are both identified with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Evacuees said to scare them apparently, the gunmen involved in the hostilities killed with assault rifles the farm animals left in their yards as they hastily fled amid the encounters.

Vincent Cuales, municipal disaster risk reduction and management officer of Mamasapano, said on Tuesday that their local government unit is now providing displaced residents of the adjoining Barangays Pembalkan and Tukanalipao with relief support while in evacuation sites and in houses of relatives far from the areas where the two groups figured in gunfights.

The two groups are squabbling for control of territories and are locked in a deep-seated animosity sparked by differences in choices of candidates during the October 30, 2024 synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Evacuees told reporters both sides are armed with M16 and M14 assault rifles and grenade launchers.

Two villagers, Miden Sabpa Dalana and Mohamiden Midtimbang Dasil, were wounded in the crossfire between the groups in early April.

Municipal officials and senior MILF leaders, among them heads of agencies in the regional government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, are trying to resolve the conflict amicably to enable evacuees to return to their conflict-stricken villages.

The Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division had separately expressed support for the efforts of MILF leaders and Mamasapano LGU officials to broker a truce to stave off more hostilities in Barangays Pembalkan and Tukanalipao.


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