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3 dead, hundreds flee as MNLF, MILF clash

John Unson (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2016 - 9:00am

NORTH COTABATO, Philippines – Officials are scrambling to avert the escalation of hostilities between factions of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

On Thursday, the two groups clashed in Matalam town, leaving three men dead and forcing more than a hundred families to flee their communities. At least six farmers’ houses were burned after the fight started.

Local officials told The STAR yesterday that they have started imposing measures to prevent a repeat of the incident after North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza gave an order to contain the situation.

Senior Inspector Sunny Leoncito, Matalam police chief, identified the MNLF fatalities as Taya Akmad, Badrudin Ingkeg and a certain Marcial, who all died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Investigators are still trying to determine the circumstances that led to the encounter as local government offices are assisting those who have been displaced by the clash.

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

She added that 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 the 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 MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT NORTH COTABATO GOV ON THURSDAY SENIOR INSPECTOR SUNNY LEONCITO SOUTHERN MINDANAO TAYA AKMAD
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