4 killed in violence triggered by bad call in basketball gameBy Edwin O. Fernandez
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—What started as a friendly basketball game between Ilonggo and Iranon civilians in a village in Alamada, North Cotabato, turned into a gunfight involving more people than just the players and ended with four dead and two wounded, police said Wednesday.
Alamada officials were now trying to patch up the two groups to prevent an escalation of the violence as members of the Iranon group, a Moro tribe, had relatives in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said Alamada police chief Senior Inspector Edwin Avante.
Avante said on Tuesday that a referee’s bad call at Sunday’s game in Barangay Guiling triggered a brawl between the two teams and subsequent ambushes later on Sunday and Monday.
On Wednesday Avante clarified that while the referee’s call of a foul did not sit well with either side and triggered a brawl, no ambush occurred afterward.
What happened, according to Avante, was that player Sainudin Mamarinta, who was driving home on a motorcycle, collided with a carabao-drawn cart. Mamarinta then told his father that members of the rival team had ganged up on him.
Village officials and the police tried to settle the dispute, and as the rival groups headed home, an Iranon player punched one of the Ilongos, Avante said. Members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) then ran after the Iranon who threw the punch but was fired on by men at a waiting shed.
Killed in the gunfire were the brothers Leo and Ritchie Celeste, both Cafgu members, Avante said, adding that the militiamen fought back, killing Sainudin Mamarinta and Menap Egal of the Iranon group.
Two others were wounded in the gun battle, he said.
Alamada Mayor Bartolome Latasa said some 35 families had left their homes for fear of being caught in the violence and were now being assisted by the local government.
Colonel Roy Galido, commander of the 40th Infantry Battalion, said the army has stepped in and sent a peace keeping force to the village.
Originally posted at 01:34 pm | Wednesday, August 29, 2012