5 killed as 2 groups clash over land in Maguindanao
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – At least five persons were killed as two armed groups clashed over land ownership in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao on Sunday night, officials said Monday.
The fighting involved farmers in the borders of Datu Abdullah Sangki and Esperanza town in Sultan Kudarat, town Councilor Anwar Emblawa said.
Emblawa said at least five men were killed from both sides, including two settlers identified only as Commander Boboy and Commander Pato.
Quoting reports from villagers, Emblawa said the feuding armed men composed of Moro farmers and non-Moro settlers traded shots on Sunday in the tri-boundary of Barangay Banaba, Talisawa in Abdulla Sangki and Guinibon in Esperanza.
Mayor Bai Miriam Sangki-Mangudadatu has ordered the local police to mediate in the conflict to avoid further dislocation of civilians. She enlisted the help of Muslim religious leaders to ease the tension.
Lt. Col. Ricky Bunayog, the 33rd Infantry Battalion commander, also sent soldiers to the affected village to serve as peacekeepers and separate the warring groups.
Mangudadatu said the groups have been contesting the ownership of a vast track of land previously owned by the Alamada clan but now occupied by settlers.
More than 30 families have fled to safer ground. SFM
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