25 gunmen break into an office of Maguindanao town mayor
COTABATO CITY—At least 25 heavily armed men broke into an office of the mayor of Talitay, a town in Maguindanao province, on Monday (April 27) and destroyed office equipment, police said.
Mayor Moner Sabal and his staff have yet to report for work and attend the flag-raising ceremony when the gunman laid siege to one of his offices.
Maj. Solaiman Bakal, police chief of Talitay, said the gunmen were from the Ameril clan, the arch rival of the Sabals, in Talitay.
In a phone interview, Bakal said no one was hurt but the gunmen destroyed the door and office equipment.
Members of the a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peacekeeping task force tried to pacify the gunmen but were attacked, too, triggering a brief gunfight.
Policemen and Army Special Forces soldiers are now securing the office and entire village.
Bakal said the Sabal-Ameril clan feud was rooted in politics.
In the 2019 local elections, Moner was elected No. 1 village councilor while his father, Abdulwahab Sabal, was elected mayor. Sabal’s unce, Montasir, was elected vice mayor.
The Amerils repeatedly challenged but failed to topple the Sabals.
Moner assumed the vice mayoral post when Montasir was suspended by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and went into hiding.
But Mayor Abdulwahab was assassinated in front of a hotel in Manila in February this year, pushing Moner to take over as mayor.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier tagged the Sabals and Amerils as narco politicians operating in Maguindanao. Both clans, however, denied it.
Edited by TSB
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.