700 families flee as warring clans clash in Maguindanao town
COTABATO CITY—At least 700 families fled to safer ground to avoid getting caught in the crossfire between two warring Moro clans in the town of Talitay, Maguindanao province.
Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, said on Wednesday (March 31) that the displaced families were from the villages of Pageda and Gadingan.
Kungan Samama, a resident who fled last Tuesday (March 30), was hit by a stray bullet, according to Baldomar.
Baldomar said a team of government soldiers and fighters of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had been working to separate and pacify the warring families.
On Tuesday, armed followers and relatives of the Watamama and Amiril families stormed a residential compound of Talitay Mayor Montasir Sabal and fired at his two-story house at the village of Pageda.
Sabal’s armed escorts had been blamed for the killing last March 22 of two members of the Watamama family, one of whom was a 16-year-old boy, who went fishing in the marsh.
A third victim, who survived the March 22 attack, pointed to Sabal’s followers as the ones behind the attack.
Baldomar said the Watamama and Amiril families called on their relatives in the MILF to join the fight, “reigniting a long family feud against the Sabals that was already settled.”
The evacuees are now housed in shelters in the town proper of Talitay where government relief agencies delivered aid.
Mayor Sabal could not be reached for comment as of this posting.
The new evacuees add to the more than 9,000 families already displaced from their homes in five other towns by clashes between the Army and the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, whose members were former MILF guerrillas.
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