6 killed in Maguindanao, Sarangani clashes

John Unson - Philstar.com
6 killed in Maguindanao, Sarangani clashes
Satellite image of Pagalungan, Maguindanao.
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COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Six men were killed in separate clashes Thursday involving rival guerilla groups in Pagalungan, Maguindanao and in Maitum, Sarangani.

The hostilities in Barangay Kalbugan in Pagalungan, Maguindanao forced a number of poor ethnic Maguindanaon families to relocate to safer areas.

Local officials and the municipal police reported Friday that four were killed in the gunfight between the Impos and the Magao clans in Barangay Kalbugan.

Barangay Kalbugan is close to the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta, a haven of outlawed groups and terrorists inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and uses the black ISIS flag as their banner.

The fatalities, Amir Impos and Alex Galang and two others from the other side, Norodin and Robin, all surnamed Magao, died from multiple bullet wounds.

The Impos and Magao clans are locked in a longtime land ownership dispute, according to local police probers.

Thursday’s hostilities in Barangay Kalbugan erupted when members of the Magao clan killed Amir using assault rifles, provoking a running gunfight with his relatives that sent innocent villagers running for their lives.

The feuding Impos and Magao families agreed to disengage through the intercession of leaders in the municipality of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Preceding the bloody incident in Pagalungan was the encounter in Barangay Mindupok in Maitum town in Sarangani between two groups both identified with MILF.

In a statement, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said the two groups, one led by Pinda Kadir and the other by Esmael Binago, clashed at the border of Badol and Linawasan areas in Barangay Mindupok.

The encounter resulted in the deaths of two MILF members, Sudin Pitron and Nasrudin Masukat, from each side.

A follower of Kadir, Khominie Arariya, was wounded in the ensuing firefight.

Major Gen. Juvymax Uy of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said Friday the 37th Infantry Battalion is now trying to reconcile the groups of Kadir and Binago with the help of local officials in Maitum.

Uy said he has ordered the 37th IB under the 603rd Brigade to prevent the spillover of the conflict outside of Barangay Mindupok. 

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