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Nation

Rival MNLF groups clash in Maguindanao

The Philippine Star

COTABATO CITY, Philippines  – Two rival factions of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) that pitted candidates for local positions in Maguindanao clashed early Tuesday,  just hours after suspected partisans blasted a fragmentation grenade at a barangay hall in a coastal town in the first district of the province.

Senior Inspector Gabudan, chief of the North Upi municipal police, said the hostilities involving the feuding MNLF groups scared villagers at the borders of Barangays Ganassi in North Upi, and Lamod in South Upi.

The hostilities involved members of two MNLF forces, he said.

There were no reports of casualties, but the encounter forced dozens of villagers to flee.

Local officials said the MNLF group from Barangay Lamod, an interior district in South Upi,   provoked the skirmishes by roaming in Barangay Ganassi with guns, scaring people that supported the rivals of the town vice mayor Baba Omar during the May 13 polls.

Omar, an MNLF commander, lost his bid for the mayoral post of South Upi.

Gabudan said no one was reported killed or wounded in the shootout, but the incident caused panic among villagers.

Preceding the incident was the grenade attack by suspected followers of a defeated candidate to an empty barangay hall in Parang town in the first district of Maguindanao.

According to witnesses, one of two men riding a motorcycle hurled a Mark II fragmentation grenade at the barangay hall and sped away as the explosive went off.

Parang re-elected mayor Ibrahim Ibay said he has ordered the local police to identify the bombers and file corresponding criminal cases against them. - John Unson

BABA OMAR

BARANGAY GANASSI

BARANGAY LAMOD

BARANGAYS GANASSI

IBRAHIM IBAY

JOHN UNSON

MAGUINDANAO

MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT

NORTH UPI

SENIOR INSPECTOR GABUDAN

SOUTH UPI

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