Tuesday Jul, 16 2024 06:22:37 PM

Rouge Moro group harasses village, prevent relief mission for residents

Peace and Order • 14:45 PM Wed Jun 26, 2024
John Felix Unson
A police investigator inspects the barangay hall in Bialong in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao del Sur that gunmen shot with assault rifles early Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of PRO-BAR)

COTABATO CITY - Moro gunmen on Tuesday fired assault rifles at a barangay hall in Bialong in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao del Sur and prevented with heavy warning shots a convoy of local officials out to deliver relief supplies to villagers they harassed early on.

Officials of the Maguindanao Provincial Police Office and units of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Shariff Aguak and nearby towns told reporters on Wednesday that a group led a certain Boy Trenta, a member of the 118th Base Command of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, was behind the atrocities that caused panic among innocent villagers.

Local officials said Trenta and his followers shot with assault rifles the Barangay hall in Bialong, sending villagers running for their lives.

Villagers said the hostility between Trenta and their barangay officials, actively supporting the police and military’s anti-terror campaign in their municipality, is related to last week’s encounters between the groups of two MILF commanders, Tunga and Panzo, in nearby Barangay Meta in Datu Unsay, Maguindanao del Sur. They refused to elaborate, however.

Displaced Bialong residents said Trenta is hostile to their barangay chairman, Mohammad Upam.

Shariff Aguak Mayor Akmad Ampatuan, Sr., officials of the 33rd Infantry Battalion and the municipal police were supposed to initiate an outreach mission in Barangay Bialong on Tuesday, but balked when Trenta and his men fired their assault rifles recklessly in the surroundings when they noticed their vehicles approaching via a farm-to-market road about two hundred meters away.

Ampatuan, chairman of the Shariff Aguak Municipal Peace and Order Council, prevented the soldiers and policemen accompanying them from responding to the provocation by Trenta and his men to avoid displacement of more villagers and to prevent them from breaching the government’s ceasefire with the MILF.

“We are calling on the government and the leadership of this front to settle this security problem immediately,” Ampatuan said.

Ampatuan and his companions had reached the center of Barangay Bialong about two hours after the standoff between them and Trenta’s group.

Brig. Gen. Prexy Tanggawohn, director of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, and 6th ID’s commander, Major Gen. Alex Rillera, separately said on Wednesday morning that they will first let local officials and MILF leaders in Shariff Aguak resolve the conflict between Trenta and the barangay officials in Bialong.

Tanggawohn said they are to file criminal charges against the gunmen who shot the barangay hall in Bialong with assault rifles.

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