COTABATO CITY – Hundreds of civilians evacuated from their homes when two families clashed in Maguindanao on Sunday although an Army official said steps have been taken to diffuse the conflict.
Brig. Gen. Roberto Capulong, 602nd Infantry Brigade commander, identified the warringssides involved in the “rido” or family feud as belonging to the families of Kamad Andoy and Kagi Matalam.
Both families have members identified with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
On Sunday, Army officials said the two families engaged in running gun battles in Sitio Lakeg, Barangay Dungguan, Datu Montawal, as well as in Sitio Betig, Barangay Inug-og, Pagalungan town – all in Maguindanao.
Capulong said the clan war stemmed from a territorial dispute, and that the fighting only stopped when the Army’s 90th Infantry Battalion, the local police, and local officials intervened.
“Military and police officials have created committees to help lay down localized peace agreements to prevent hostilities in the future,” Capulong said.
In the meantime, officials said the affected families who fled to the covered courts of Datu Montawal and Pagalungan towns have received aid from the local government units.
Capulong also assured the public that the highway linking North Cotabato and Maguindanao passing by the towns of Pagalungan and Montawal remain safe and passable.
Soldiers have been deployed as peacekeepers along the highway to prevent escalation of hostilities to populated areas.
Guns had been silent since Sunday night, according to a report by Colonel Arnold Santiago, Maguindanao police provincial director.