GUINDULUNGAN, Maguindanao – Police authorities are readying charges of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges against a local armed group leader believed to be behind the weekend ambush here that left nine dead and three others wounded.
“Investigation is being expedited and immediate filing of charges will be filed against perpetrators as long as pieces of evidence surrounding the crime are obtained,” Brig. Gen. Arthur Cabalona, the newly installed police director for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), said on Monday.
Capt. Fayeed Cana, the Maguindanao police spokesperson, said the victims and perpetrators were locked in a long-standing family feud involving land conflict.
Police, backed by military forces, are now hunting down Jordan Mama Lintang alias “Commander Jordan,” his son Morsid and several armed followers for the killing of Peges Lintang Mamasainged alias “Commander Black Magic.”
Lintang is leading a private armed group while the slain Mamasainged belonged to the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the military arm of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“The protagonists were feuding cousins,” Cana said, adding that charges for multiple murder and frustrated murder are being prepared against the suspects for filing before the provincial prosecutor’s office.
Aside from Mamasainged, others killed were his sons Johari, Sadam, Sader, cousins Kamar and Tani, and three other armed followers.
Three others in Mamasainged’s two-vehicle convoy – Anwar Dimasingian, Baunal Lumabad, and Sanjen Mamasainged – were critically injured and are fighting for their lives in a hospital.
Von Al Haq, speaking for the BIAF, said Commander Black Magic was an MILF commander while Commander Jordan was not. He refused to elaborate.
Mamasainged, his sons, and followers were on board a Mitsubishi Montero and Ford Ranger heading to Ampatuan, Maguindanao for a “rido” settlement involving them and cousins, led by Lintang, when they were ambushed in Sitio Dam, Barangay Malumamis here at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
The Guindulungan police said aside from killing the victims, the suspects also carted away their wallets, an undetermined number of pistols and rifles, magazines, mobile phones, and other personal items.
Police investigators found more than 100 empty shells for .45-caliber pistols, M16 and M14 assault rifles at the crime scene.
An MILF official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two families, who are closely related by blood, have been locked in a decades-old clan war over a territorial dispute and land conflict.
Several followers of Commanders Jordan and Black Magic have died in occasional skirmishes in Guindulungan and Datu Saudi Ampatuan towns in Maguindanao.
Cana, meanwhile, assured the public that the police is on top of the situation and that the major highways in Maguindanao linking Cotabato City and Isulan, Sultan Kudarat remain safe for public commuters.
The site of Saturday’s ambush was about 10 kilometers from the national highway.
In a statement, Colonel Jibin Bongcayao, Maguindanao police director, condemned the ambush and called on all residents of Maguindanao to support the police in renouncing unscrupulous activities of lawless individuals by providing them timely information on their presence in communities.