Gov't extends aid to families displaced by MNLF-MILF conflict

January 5, 2016 6:18 am 

By Edwin O. Fernandez

MATALAM, North Cotabato, Jan. 4 (PNA) – On the first working day of 2016, the provincial government of North Cotabato have buckled down to work and extended assistance to about 186 families displaced by armed conflict involving two Moro armed group in a remote village on New Year’s Eve.

North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza ordered the distribution of relief goods to 186 families displaced by skirmishes involving Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The displaced families, now staying at village hall of Barangay Kidama. Many of whom refused to return home as long as armed MILF and MNLF remain in the village.

They also sought the help of local leaders to mediate so normalcy will return to the affected village.

Three MNLF members were killed when the group of Commander Ambalatan of the MILF attacked the community where followers and families of MNLF Commander Mangadta reside.

Engr. Marilyn Samson, Matalam Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer, said three sub-villages have been deserted by villagers of Barangay Kidama.

Some Muslim residents said they expected retaliatory attacks from the aggrieved party since they lost three relatives and they do not want to endanger their lives.

Samson said the town disaster unit is still awaiting green light from the local police or the military when to allow return of displaced families.

Capt. Joan Petinglay, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said the conflict was more of a personal grudge due to land dispute involving two Moro families who happened to be identified with the Moro fronts.

She said in a radio interview that soldiers from the 602nd Infantry Brigade have been deployed as peacekeepers while the government and MILF coordinating committee on the cessation of hostilities have sent emissaries to mediate.

Senior Inspector Sunny Leoncito, Matalam town police chief, identified the MNLF fatalities as Taya Akmad, Badrudin Ingkeg and a certain Marcial.

Police investigators are yet to determine what really triggered the conflict since amicable settlement of territorial dispute had been done in the past.

Police also reported six houses in the village were torched by attacking gunmen. (PNA)

RMA/NYP/EOF

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