Philippine Military Intervenes Clan War in Cotabato
Military troopers secured Tuesday some 180 families from remote Barangay Tonganon, Carmen, North Cotabato, following an evacuation brought about by a longtime land dispute between two warring Moro clans in the area.
Lt. Col. Benjamin Hao, Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion commander, said evacuees have sought temporary shelter at Barangay New Panay in nearby Aleosan town and the village center in Barangay Tonganon.
Hao said the armed fighting between the groups of Commander Teo of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Commander DTR of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) started around 5:30 a.m. Sunday and is still going on.
The mass evacuation of residents in two sitios of Barangay Tonganon was prompted by Commander DTR group’s torching of some 16 nipa huts owned by local farmers, reports from the Carmen police said.
The fresh wave of evacuation in the area was the fourth since January this year.
Hao said elements of the 7IB, 40IB based in Aleosan and 602nd Infantry Brigade had been deployed in Tonganon to prevent further hostilities and secure the villagers.
He said the warring groups want a “third party” to meddle in the disagreement but as to how it would be resolved remains uncertain.
Hao said Carmen and Aleosan town officials, in coordination with the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team, have moved to pacify the contending groups.