state of calamity

Impoverished Maguindanao town locked in deadly clan war, state of calamity declared

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COTABATO CITY – Authorities have placed under a state of calamity the Talitay town in Maguindanao following hostilities between two Moro groups that displaced hundreds of families.

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The evacuees come mostly from Barangays Gadungan and Pageda in the impoverished Talitay town along the Liguasan Delta. In 2008, the regional Bangsamoro parliament renamed Talitay into Sultan Sumagka through Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 228.

Clan war

Major Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said Wednesday he has urged traditional leaders and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to settle the family feud or “rido” between the followers of Talitay Mayor Montasir Sabal and the combined Watamama and Ameril clans.

Rido is a generic term for clan war in most Southern Philippine vernaculars.

He said the municipal council passed last week a resolution placing the entire town under a state of calamity due to hostilities.

The mayor approved Tuesday the resolution allowing the local government to use its quick response fund to address the situation.

Internally displaced

The hostilities, according to the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC), have displaced some 3,493 villagers. Responders have relocated them to safer areas.

The deep-seated animosity between the two groups erupted when the followers of the  mayor reportedly shot dead last March 22 a 16-year-old member of the Watamama family and a companion, also a minor.

The municipal police said the victims were gunned down while fishing in a marsh that connects to the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta.

Relatives of the slain adolescents immediately retaliated. They attacked and vandalized the abandoned residential compound of Sabal in a secluded area in Talitay. The rampage had sent hundreds of villagers running for their lives. (READ: Clan war displaces villagers in remote Maguindanao town)

The two groups have since figured in a spate of clashes using M14, M16 and M203 assault rifles.

The Bangsamoro government has extended initial relief support to the conflict-stricken communities.

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