Evacuees return home to Kidapawan barangays
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - January 11, 2014 - 5:30pm

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines -- Evacuees displaced by last week’s showdown between two heavily armed groups squabbling for control of strategic patches of lands at the border of two barangays here have started returning to their homes.

Local officials said the displaced residents decided to return to the their farming enclaves after learning that the feuding groups have left following the declaration by Mayor Joseph Evangelista of the disputed areas as “firearm-free zone,” as part of the security measures to prevent escalation of hostilities.

The earlier hostilities between the two feuding Moro factions forced close to a hundred families to evacuate to safer areas for fear of getting trapped in the crossfire.

The two groups last fought just after the New Year’s Day, forcing close to 50 families to evacuate to safer areas.

Evangelista, chairman of the city peace and order council, thanked the police and the military for helping provide security to the areas where the rival factions have repeatedly fought in weeks past.

The armed groups, one identified with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the other supported by the Moro National Liberation Front, figured three times in gunbattles in the area last year.

The feuding groups are squabbling for control of strategic patches of arable lands at the boundary of the adjoining Barangays Patadon and Amas.

Last week’s hostilities in the area involved a group led by Satar Manalundong, and several Moro families opposing his presence in the area.

Manalundong and his men have been trying to evict local peasants from their farms in the disputed areas.

AREAS BARANGAYS PATADON AND AMAS EVANGELISTA GROUPS MANALUNDONG MAYOR JOSEPH EVANGELISTA MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT NEW YEAR SATAR MANALUNDONG
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