By Edwin O. Fernandez
DATU ABDULLAH SANGKI, Maguindanao, Nov. 9 (PNA) – At least three persons were killed while more than 30 families fled homes as two armed groups clashed over land ownership in the borders of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat, officials said today.
Senior Supt. Nickson Muksan, Maguindanao town police chief, said the fighting erupted Sunday night in the village of Banaba, a Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao near the borders of Sultan Kudarat.
“They quarrel over land ownership, they were armed,” Muksan said, adding that police and military forces have been deployed as peacekeepers in the village, about 25 kilometers from portions of the Cotabato-Isulan national highway.
“Civilians reported that at least three were killed in the fighting,” according to town Councilor Anwar Emblawa.
Emblawa said the feuding armed men composed of Moro farmers and Ilonggo gunmen traded shots on Sunday in the tri-boundary of Barangay Banaba in Abdulla Sangki and Guinibon in Esperanza.
Mayor Bai Miriam Sangki-Mangudadatu has directed the the local police to mediate in the conflict to avoid further dislocation of civilians. She enlisted the help of Muslim religious leaders to ease the tension.
Col. Ricky Bunayog, 33rd Infantry Battalion commander, also sent soldiers in the affected village to serve as peacekeepers and separate the warring groups.
More than 30 families have fled to safer grounds as sporadic exchange of bullets could still be heard near the national highway.
The Datu Abdullah Sangki social welfare office are attending to their needs, Mayor Mangudadatu said. (PNA)