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Ethnic Tedurays displaced by arson attack; worship site razed

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES NEWS • 11:15 AM Tue Aug 1, 2023
John M. Unson
Soldiers patrol around the Teduray tribal enclave that arsonists attacked last weekend. 

COTABATO CITY - Investigators are scrambling to identify for prosecution the gunmen who burned down over the weekend a decades-old historic worship site and houses of non-Moro ethnic Teduray tribespeople in Talayan, Maguindanao del Sur.

The incident displaced 114 Teduray families, according to members of the 80-seat parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

The hapless, unarmed Tedurays in a tribal enclave at the border of Barangays Blanting and Marader in Talayan temporarily relocated to the hinterland Barangay Biarong in South Upi in Maguindanao del Sur, leaving their livestock and harvestable rice and corn crops behind.

Major Gen. Alex S. Rillera, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said Tuesday they are helping the police identify the armed men who set fire to houses and the old Tenines, a worship site of the Tedurays, in their village in Talayan.

Rillera and Brig. Allan C. Nobleza, director of PRO-BAR, told reporters Tuesday they have assigned personnel to support the continuing relief works of the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence, or Bangsamoro READi, for the Teduray evacuees.

Two Teduray members of the regional parliament, Ramon Piang and Froilyn Mendoza, had separately told reporters they were saddened with the plight of the families affected by the atrocity.

Mendoza said they are grateful to the Bangsamoro READi for immediately providing evacuees with initial relief supplies while in makeshift evacuation sites and houses of relatives in South Upi, also a Teduray bastion.

Nobleza said BARMM’s Ministry of the Interior and Local Government and the Bangsamoro READi together distributed rice, canned goods and other relief provisions to the 114 families from Talayan during a humanitarian mission on Monday morning in Barangay Biarong, South Upi.

Nobleza said BARMM Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, who is managing the Bangsamoro READi, is also helping the PRO-BAR and the 6th ID restore normalcy in the Teduray village that gunmen had terrorized.

“Our investigators and intelligence agents are trying to identify, with the help of counterparts under 6th ID, the group that terrorized them,” Nobleza told reporters on Tuesday morning.

Talayan is about 45 kilometers south of this city, where the BARMM regional government center is located.


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