CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Two combatants were wounded in a firefight between an armed group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Tuesday night in Datu Montawal town, Maguindanao.
Lt. Col.Anhouvic Atilano, the spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Central (JTCF), said those involved were the groups of Andy Montawal, a wanted man with about 10 to 15 armed followers, and MILF combatants under a certain Commander Gafur.
“This conflict is a habitual occurrence since the two groups have been locked in a long-standing rido or clan war,” Atilano, also the commander of 6th Civil-Military Operations Battalion, told reporters here Wednesday.
He said at past 7 p.m, both sides traded bullets and launcher-fired rockets in the village of Talapas, leaving two injured on the side of Montawal.
Atilano said Montawal has standing warrants of arrest for unspecified crimes.
“The conflict between the two groups had been raging sporadically in the past ten years,” Atilano said, assuring that the conflict will not escalate with the deployment of the Army’s 90th Infantry Battalion troopers in the area.
He said no evacuation of civilians took place as the center of skirmishes is about five to six kilometers from residential areas.
Meanwhile, an MILF community was attacked by Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) also on Tuesday evening in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Atilano said an undetermined number of BIFF fired rocket-propelled grenades and strafed the MILF community whose residents also fired back, triggering a brief firefight.
Nobody was hurt, Atilano said, adding that the BIFF gunmen fled when elements of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion arrived. (PNA)