2 dead, over 800 families flee as MILF-BIAF members clash in Maguindanao

Arianne Apatan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2020 08:07 PM

MAMASAPANO, Maguindanao- A firefight erupted in Mamasapano, Maguindanao beginning Monday night, according to local police, forcing over 800 families to flee their homes.

Mamasapano Chief of Police PLTC Henry Biñas said Wednesday the firefight started after a man was shot and his cadaver torched later to death.

The police said the two warring parties were members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s 118 Base Command.

“Nagsimula ang firefight nila Monday night hanggang kahapon ng hapon. Maliban doon sa namatay na sinilaban, may isa pang wounded. And yung sa actual firefight, may isang patay," Biñas said.

Mamasapano Information Officer Maceda Abdillah said 840 families from the villages of Tuka and Tukanalipao left their homes out of fear.

The evacuees stayed with their relatives nearby, while others made makeshift tents.

The forced evacuation of the affected residents comes as a General Community Quarantine is in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and while they are on fasting in observance of the holy month of Ramadan.

“Nag-assist kami and nagkaroon ng counseling... The other day, nagbigay kami ng ayuda. And then, the following day, yun ang nangyari. Pag-aaralan namin kung magkakasya pa ang supply para makapagbigay ulit," Maceda said.

The military's 33rd Infantry Battalion deployed troops in the area Tuesday to prevent a spillover of the firefight.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front spokesperson Von Alhaq said members of the MILF-Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities were also sent to the area to pacify the conflict.

“All we know is that kahapon, disengaged na ang barilan nila. Sa mga kapatid na mga BIAF man o hindi, huwag natin ilagay ang batas sa ating mga kamay. Bagkus, gamitin natin ang mahinahon na pag-uusap. We should not be the slave of our pride but rather we are the king of our pride," he said.

Affected residents call for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim officials to help resolve rido or clan war cases in the area.