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3 MILF rebels killed in clan feud; 500 families flee fighting in North Cotabato

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05:42 PM June 10th, 2012

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June 10th, 2012 05:42 PM

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Three Moro rebels were killed as they clashed Saturday with followers of a barangay (village) chairman in North Cotabato and sent about 500 families fleeing, the military here said.

Lieutenant Colonel Roy Galido, 40th Infantry Battalion commanding officer, said the armed hostilities started when Abas Kudanding, a Moro Islamic Liberation Front commander, and his men attacked the group of Renz Tukuran, barangay chair of Lumopog in Midsayap town, that triggered a running gun battle.

Kudanding belonged to the MILF’s 105th base command.

The protagonists have long been locked in a family feud over large patch of agricultural lands in Barangay Lumupog.

Galido said barangay officials reported that three of Kudanding’s men were killed in the ensuing skirmishes. A follower of Tukuran was slightly wounded in the fire fight.

Galido said he alerted the government and MILF ceasefire panel to intervene as both sides were heavily armed.

Major General Rey Ardo, 6th ID chief and former head of the government’s ceasefire panel, said he has ordered the repositioning of Army troops and urged the ceasefire panel to convince warring groups to reposition too so relief aid workers could come in.

Some of the families fled to Datu Piang, Maguindanao, while others opted to stay in Barangay Sambulawan, also in Midsayap.

Galido said tension in Barangay Lumopog rose when civilians and the military monitored the entry of MILF guerillas from Aleosan and Pikit towns, also in North Cotabato, apparently to reinforce Kudanding’s group in fighting Tukuran and his men.

According to Galido, intelligence reports say Kudanding now has about 200 armed men.

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