Manila Nearly 10,000 residents of a town in Maguindanao had been displaced by the fighting between two warring groups of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the government reported Sunday.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in an update, said about 9,388 residents of Sultan sa Barongis, a town in Maguindanao, southern Philippines, had been displaced by the fighting between the MILF’s 105th and 106th Base Commands.
The 2,344 families came from six villages in Sultan sa Barongis and the cause of the fighting was “rido” or clan war, according to the NDRRMC.
It remains unknown if there were any fatalities but among the casualties, reported earlier was a 14-year-old girl.
Those affected by the fighting were residents of the villages of Papakan, Gadungan, Kulambong, Tukanakuden, Bulod at Malusot.
The government earlier aired concerns that the fighting between the two groups of the MILF could endanger the current peace negotiations.
“We call on the MILF to show their collective sincerity and commitment to the peace process especially now that we are on the homestretch of the negotiations. It is high time that the MILF resolves peacefully these infightings, ‘ridos’ or clan wars within its ranks,” Brigadier Leo Cresente Ferrer, senior military adviser to the government peace negotiating panel with the MILF said.
Contacted by Gulf News, MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal on Thursday had said on that the two warring MILF base units “have already disengaged”.
At the same time, he pointed out that the clash is an internal matter within the MILF.
“This is our problem (and we will resolve it),” he said in a text message.
Based on reports, fighting flared up Tuesday around 2pm between two separate MILF units based in Maguindanao, the MILF 105th Base Command and the MILF 106th Base Commands.
Fighting erupted between combined troops of Commanders Basco and Abdul Haq of the MILF’s 105th base command against the combined forces of Commanders Baksan and Jerry of the MILF’s 106th base command along the boundaries of Kulambog and Gadungan in Sultan Sa Barongis.
The government and the MILF had been fighting for more than two decades in 2001 that both sides started working on implementing an actual truce and conduct negotiations for a political settlement.
Based on the results of the recently concluded 29th Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP)-MILF Peace Talks, both sides agreed to come out with a “road map” that will guide them at arriving in a peace agreement.