COTABATO CITY, Philippines – A firefight ensued between the group of Barangay Lumupog chairman Datu Renz Tukuran of Midsayap and Moro Islamic Liberation Front Commander Abas Kudanding about 10 p.m. on Saturday.
Three have reportedly died on the side of the MILF, while one was wounded on the side of the barangay captain.
Col. Roy Galido, 40th Infantry Battalion commander, said the clash is believed to be one of rido, or family feud
Residents immediately fled the area and went to nearby Barangay Sambolawan, where they are now staying in temporary evacuation sites.
Sporadic firefights have continued until this morning.
The forces of the military and the Philippine National Police have already secured the internally displaced persons.
Galido said they are already in close coordination with the MILF's Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities and joint local monitoring teams to control the movement of MILF forces and prevent an escalation.
Meanwhile, MILF Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces spokesperson Von al Haq said they are still validating the report and will automatically make a move to stop the fighting.
Meantime, an ABS-CBN News team was able to enter Barangay Sambolawan this morning.
While conducting interviews with the locals, exchange of fires from high powered firearms were overheard.
As the news team was about to leave the area, a mortar round landed on the river near the area where residents are staying.
People began to run and hide for cover. Children were crying and residents again scampered away from the scene.
The municipal social welfare and development office had already advised the people to vacate the area to avoid getting hit by stray bullets.
As of posting, about 250 families have already been displaced and scattered in different areas in Barangay Sambolawan. -- By Lora Mae Andong, Lalaine Bolongon, Lerio Bompat, ABS-CBN News Cotabato City