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Militiaman killed in clash with MILF over land dispute in North Cotabato

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AFP FILE PHOTO

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – An armed farmer died in a clash with Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters in North Cotabato on Sunday.

North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said the exchange of gunfire started at around 5 a.m. in Sitio Barko-barko, Barangay (village) Maybula, Tulunan town.

The farmer was identified as Dondon Palomo. A military official confirmed that Palomo was a member of the Barangay Police Auxiliary Team.

Von Al-Haq, MILF spokesperson for military affairs, said the firefight erupted after a band of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit elements and members of an armed group attacked the local MILF unit in the area.

“An unsettled land issue caused this conflict. The mayors of Datu Paglas, Tulunan and Columbio know this,” Al-Haq said.

The provincial government, however, said that the farmers in the area were forced by the situation to take up arms after the Moro rebels allegedly took away their livestock and crops.

Mendoza said many residents already left their homes to avoid getting caught in the crossfire.

The local government said military forces in the area refused to use their guns to stop the firefight because it might damage the ongoing peace negotiations with the rebels.

Mendoza said that as of 4 p.m. Sunday, fighting continued.


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Tags: Armed conflict , land dispute , militiamen , Moro Islamic Liberation Front , News , paramilitary groups , Regions , Von Al Haq




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