Rido in Cotabato town erupts into gunfight again, sends 300 families fleeing
COTABATO CITY—A rido, or clan war, raging over tracts of land in the town of Pikit, Cotabato province blew up into gunfights again on Sunday (June 7), displacing 300 families, or at least 1,500 individuals, from their homes, according to the municipal disaster office.
The evacuees, mostly women and children, had been given shelter in evacuation camps at the village of Poblacion, according to the Pikit municipal disaster risk reduction and management office.
Their number added to the 2,611 families, or 10,829 persons, from villages of Pikit and Pagalungan town in Maguindanao already displaced since the start of the fighting two months ago.
Col. Henry Villar, Cotabato police director, said the fighting involved the group of Commander Ricky Hussein, of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and Commander Butch Sanday, who heads a group of armed men at the village of Talitay in Pikit.
Sanday was former MILF brigade commander who was kicked out from his position for attacking in April communities in nearby Pagalungan town, Maguindanao, where Commander Hussein was based.
Villar said Sanday formed his own group and went on to wage war on Hussein.
MILF leaders had pacified the two groups but the gunfights resumed on Sunday, said Mayor Sumulong Sultan, of Pikit.
At least 135 houses at the villages of Balatukan, Nunguan and Balongis were also burned by the warring families.
Emissaries from the MILF are on their way to pacify the warring armed groups.
The rido, or clan war, between Sanday and Hussein started 10 years ago when families of both leaders started claiming ownership of vast tracts of land at Talitay near the border of Pikit and Pagalungan.
Neither group, however, could produce documents to show proof of ownership of the lands.
Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco vowed to settle the feud so evacuees could return home.
Most of the displaced families came from the three former Pikit villages who opted to join the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in a plebiscite in February 2019.
On Sunday, the BARMM Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) delivered 133 sacks of rice to 52 families staying at an evacuation camp at the village of Batulawan.
Aid was also brought to 81 displaced individuals at the village of Balabak.