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Officials scramble to contain feuding MILF, MNLF factions

John Unson (Philstar.com) - January 2, 2016 - 11:32pm

NORTH COTABATO, Philippines - Officials are scrambling to avert escalation of hostilities between factions of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) that figured in a deadly clash in Matalam town on Thursday.

The hostilities in Barangay Kidama west of Makilala town in North Cotabato left three MNLF members dead and displaced more than a hundred families.

Local officials on Sunday told The STAR they have started imposing measures to stave off a repeat of the incident, on the behest of North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza, chair of the provincial peace and order council.

Senior Inspector Sunny Leoncito, chief of the Matalam municipal police, identified the MNLF fatalities as Taya Akmad, Badrudin Ingkeg and a certain Marcial, who died from multiple gunshot wounds sustained when they traded shots with their MILF adversaries.

Investigators are still trying to determine the circumstances that led to the encounter. 

Mendoza is optimistic the police, the Matalam local government unit and senior MNLF and MILF commanders can peacefully resolve the conflict.

Six houses of local peasants in the scene of the encounter have reportedly been set on fire too by gunmen as the gunfight ensued.

The provincial social welfare office had also been directed by Mendoza to help the Matalam LGU attend to the needs of evacuees.

Mendoza said efforts to address the dispute involving heavily armed groups in Barangay Kidama are being coordinated closely with the joint government-MILF ceasefire committee.

The government and MILF are bound by interim security agreements to mutually cooperate in addressing security problems in flashpoint areas in Southern Mindanao.

BADRUDIN INGKEG BARANGAY KIDAMA EMMYLOU MENDOZA MATALAM MENDOZA MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT NORTH COTABATO NORTH COTABATO GOV SENIOR INSPECTOR SUNNY LEONCITO SOUTHERN MINDANAO
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