COTABATO CITY—At least two men were killed and another was wounded when armed groups belonging to rival Moro factions clashed over territorial claims in a village bordering North Cotabato and Maguindanao on Wednesday, according to the military.
Col. Dickson Hermoso, speaking for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the clash between members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) prompted authorities to block off a portion of the highway leading to the village to prevent motorists and commuters from getting caught in the crossfire.
Hermoso, quoting police, said the clash started when MILF members, led by a certain Commander Maguinda Sindangan, attacked the house of a certain Eddie Buisan in Barangay Malaya, Kabacan town past noon on Wednesday.
Followers of Buisan, who is known as Commander Iranon Mansa of the MNLF, returned fire leading to a gunfight that ceased only after a team from the ceasefire committees of the government and MILF arrived.
The highway was reopened to traffic when the clash ended, said Hermoso.
He said the groups of Sindangan and Buisan each suffered a casualty. Their identities have not been determined yet.
Hermoso said the feud is between the two armed leaders and not between the MILF and MNLF.
The ceasefire committees of the government and MILF are trying to find a peaceful solution to the land dispute between the two men, said Hermoso.
The MILF is a group that broke off from the MNLF in protest of the MNLF’s signing of the Tripoli Agreement with the then Marcos dictatorship.
The agreement was hardly enforced and the MNLF went to war fighting alongside the MILF in some of the bloodiest battles of the Moro rebellion.
In 1996, the MNLF entered into a peace agreement with the then Ramos administration, leaving out the MILF in the process.
The MILF in October last year entered into a framework peace agreement with the Aquino administration. Charlie Señase, Inquirer Mindanao