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(UPDATE) 6 killed as MILF men, villagers clash over land in North Cotabato

/ 07:20 PM December 08, 2015

KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato, Philippines – (UPDATE) At least six people were killed when suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels clashed anew with armed  villagers in Tulunan, North Cotabato over a long-standing land conflict on Tuesday.

Senior Insp. Ronnie Dillera, Tulunan police chief, said at least 30 armed men suspected to be Moro rebels descended on Sitio Saban in Barangay Maybula, which has been serving as the town’s border with nearby Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and harassed villagers tilling their farms around 11 a.m.

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Dillera said the firefight between the two groups lasted for about three hours and resulted in the deaths of villagers Renato Tadiaque and Anthony Camiring; and Loloy Lumacad, a security guard at a banana plantation in the village.

He said three of the attackers were also killed but their identities had not been established as of yet.

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“Their remains were brought to the PNP headquarters in Tulunan,” Dillera said.

He said the policemen sent to pacify the two groups also came under fire but none of them were harmed.

Dillera said at least 64 families or more than 200 individuals had fled as a result of the clash.

He confirmed that the clash was the offshoot of a conflicting land claim over a 10-hectare land area in Maybula between  settlers and Moro residents of Columbio town.

In 2013, North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza ordered the creation of a body to pacify the two warring groups as their differing land claims were still being investigated and resolved by government agencies, including the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

Mendoza also called on both parties not to resort to violence, saying the province has had enough of violent events, and killing each other would only worsen the situation, instead of resolving it.

Mendoza also urged the police and the military to send peacekeeping forces in Barangay Maybula following the 2013 clash there that led to the death of a member of the Barangay Police Auxiliary Team (BPAT).

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Von Al-Haq, speaking for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), had said the land dispute involving Moro residents and villagers in Maybula has remained unsettled to date.

He said this was only among the long list of land conflicts that the Philippine national government and the MILF should resolve.  SFM/AC

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TAGS: Anthony Camiring, Armed conflict, armed groups, Christian armed settlers, clash, Department of Agrarian Reform, Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, Encounter, Governor, gun battle, land dispute, Local authorities, Local Governments, Loloy Lumacad, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, news, North Cotabato, Regions, Renato Tadiaque, Ronnie Dillera, Shooting, shooting casualties, shooting fatalities Tulunan, Tulunan Municipal Police, Von Al Haq
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