Thursday Jun, 20 2024 02:47:21 PM

Villagers displaced by gunfight in Maguindanao del Norte

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 16:00 PM Tue Nov 7, 2023
John Felix Unson
Army combat vehicles are positioned along a strategic area in Barangay Bugawas in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte. (From Station DXMS)

COTABATO CITY - The police and military have urged the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to disengage two of its groups that clashed on Monday morning in Maguindanao del Norte, causing the displacement of about a hundred villagers.

The two groups figured in running gunfights for about four hours in Linib and Tinindanan areas in Barangay Bugawas in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, the local police stated in a report on Tuesday to Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza, director of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Lt. Col. Esmael Madin, chief of the Datu Odin Sinsuat Municipal Police Station, and officials of the Maguindanao del Norte Provincial Police Office identified the leaders of the feuding groups as Commanders Salim and Adam, who have more than 30 followers each, armed with assault rifles and grenade launchers.

Evacuees from the conflict-torn villages are convinced the hostilities were related to the October 30 synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, where both groups had favored candidates.

Talks are spreading around Datu Odin Sinsuat and in this city hinting that the incident, which affected more than 30 families, could be connected to the gun attack on Monday morning in the same barangay that resulted in the death of two residents, Juhaimen Ube and Mistah Alon and left four others wounded.

The slain duo, who were attacked while on their way to a polling site, campaigned for certain candidates for barangay elective posts, according to their relatives.

They are both related to members of one of the two groups that clashed in Linib and Tinindanan on Monday, according to traditional community Moro leaders.

Army Major Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, said he has directed their units in Datu Odin Sinsuat and nearby towns to secure Barangay Bugawas to prevent a repeat of Monday’s skirmishes in the area.


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