Thousands flee clashes between 2 Moro groups in Mamasapano

Thousands flee clashes between 2 Moro groups in Mamasapano

Suspected DI gunmen attack police station after ambush in Maguindanao del Sur

Maguindanao del Sur INQUIRER FILES

COTABATO CITY, BARMM, Philippines — Clashes between Moro armed groups in the town of Mamasapano in Maguindanao del Sur province erupted anew at dawn on Monday, sending civilians still in the midst of their Ramadan fast fleeing to safer grounds to avoid getting caught in the crossfire.

Vincent Cuales, Mamasapano’s Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) head, said heavily armed members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) clashed in Barangay Dasikil of the town, the latest in the recurring conflict between leaders of the MILF 118th Base Command and the BIFF.


READ: Thousands flee clashes in Maguindanao del Sur


READ: Ex-MILF men clash in Maguindanao Sur, Cotabato; 9 dead

According to Cuales, the conflict has been triggered by deeply seated hostilities between leaders of the two groups, which led to recurring attacks and counterattacks that had cost the lives of their followers.

Cuales said the recent conflict erupted on April 3 in Barangay Pimbalkan, where two civilians were injured, prompting the warring groups to move to Dasikil.

At least 189 families from Dasikil have fled to the villages of Tuka and Libutan in Mamasapano while others sought refuge in the neighboring towns of Shariff Saydona Mustapha and Radjah Buayan, also in Maguindanao del Sur, Cuales said.

Ameer Jehad Ambolodto, Maguindanao del Sur Provincial DRRMO chief, placed the exact number of displaced families at 1,577, or almost 8,000 individuals, including those from neighboring areas.

Emotions are high

Cuales said the recent clashes stemmed from the March 31 ambush that killed a village councilman and wounded a police officer in Mamasapano. Authorities believed it was also connected to a shooting incident in Poblacion, Shariff Aguak town, weeks ago that killed two minors allegedly linked to illegal drugs.


Cuales said the MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities and Ad Hoc Joint Action Group previously intervened to implement the ceasefire but clashes erupted again on Monday.

Even the Mamasapano municipal government could not immediately initiate conflict resolution proceedings between the warring groups as emotions were still running high, he added.

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“Prior to this most recent firefight, more than 1,500 families from Pimbalkan were affected by the clashes, but all of them went home already,” Cuales said.


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