Land conflict leads to MILF infighting; 1 dead, 4 wounded | Inquirer News

Land conflict leads to MILF infighting; 1 dead, 4 wounded

/ 04:16 AM October 15, 2020

COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao, Philippines — A land ownership dispute in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao province, fueled a six-hour clash among members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Tuesday, killing one person and wounding four others, according to the military and local officials.

A local village chief, Esmael Hashim, said those involved in the gunfight belonged to groups led by Salik Kiko and Ben Tikaw.

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Kiko was booted out of the 118th Base Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the MILF’s armed wing, for alleged violations while Tikaw belonged to the 105th Base Command.

The BIAF is in the process of being decommissioned as part of its commitment under a peace deal with the government. Hashim, chair of Barangay Tukanalipao, said the clash broke out at 11 a.m. and ended around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, leaving a member of Kiko’s group, identified only as Alimudin, dead. Three of Alimudin’s companions and a follower of Tikaw’s were wounded.

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The shootout was triggered by claims over a vast tract of land in Tukanalipao, Hashim said. In 2015, 44 police commandos were killed in the village in the course of hunting Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

Checkpoints

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, ordered the establishment of checkpoints along roads passing through Tukanalipao to prevent a spillover of clashes to nearby communities.

Several months ago, peace group International Alert called attention to the rise in community-level violence amid the pandemic due to land conflict. It cited the situation in the towns of Pikit and Matalam, both in Cotabato province, and in South Upi, Guindulungan, Pagalungan and Sultan Kudarat towns, all in Maguindanao.

Fighting in these communities has displaced thousands of families, killed several people, and destroyed houses and personal properties.

According to Nikki de la Rosa, International Alert country manager, the rival groups’ access to weapons has been prolonging the violence.

Reports from Edwin Fernandez and Julie Alipala

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TAGS: land dispute, Maguindanao clash, Mamasapano land dispute, MILF infighting
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