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Families of farmers killed by bandits gets cash support from Mangudadatu

 • 01:56 AM Thu Dec 31, 2015
John Unson
Workers of the Maguindanao provincial government repack food supplies for victims of the December 24 attacks by bandits in the province. JOHN UNSON

MAGUINDANAO -- Officials on Wednesday distributed relief goods and cash assistance to the families of six farmers killed by bandits in a series of attacks on Christmas eve in Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces.Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and his subordinate-provincial budget officer, Lynette Estandarte, led the relief mission for the six families gathered at the center of Barangay Kauran in Ampatuan town.They distributed P10,000 to each of the six families.Two other farmers were killed in an attack by bandits in Pigkawayan town in the first district of North Cotabato province on the same day.The January 24 attacks by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao’s adjoining Ampatuan and Datu Abdullah Sangki towns had also dislocated more than a thousand families.The slain Ilonggo farmers, Mario Estenote, Mark Anthony Templa, Ramoncito Estorque, Ariel Bucais, Bernard Ebagat, and Rudy Roquero, were on their way to their farms in the outskirt of Barangay Kauran carrying knapsack sprayers and farm tools when they were attacked by bandits retreating to a nearby hinterland after an encounter with soldiers in a security detachment about two barangays away.Hundreds of families in nearby Datu Abdullah Sangki town were also forced to relocate to safer areas when BIFF bandits harassed an Army detachment in one of its barangays, provoking firefights that sent villagers running for their lives.Four BIFF gunmen were killed while five others were wounded in the encounter.Mangudadatu told the families of his six slain constituent-farmers he was saddened by the incident.He said he requested the police and military to secure agricultural enclaves in Barangay Kauran from marauding BIFF forces.He called on relatives of the six farmers not to resort to retaliations to prevent the security problems in their communities from getting complicated.Estandarte and Mangudadatu also distributed rice and other food supplies to the victims of the BIFF attacks.

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