Displaced residents in Maguindanao conflict reach 124,000
MANILA, Philippines – As the army offensive against a rebel group reaches its 3rd week, the number of Maguindanao residents forced to flee their homes hit 124,000 on Monday, March 16.
As of 5 pm Monday, a total of 123,537 individuals or 24,714 families have been displaced by ongoing military operations against rebel group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The BIFF is opposed to the peace process.
The evacuees are scattered across different areas in Maguindanao, according to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (ARMM-Heart).
The regional government is spending about P2 million per day for food packs, which contains rations of rice, sardines, and noodles that sustains a family for 3 days.
Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr ordered an "all-out offensive" against the BIFF on February 25 in the aftermath of the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, where the group is among those suspected to have killed 44 elite cops.
Wanted Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, better known as Marwan, was killed in the operation but Filipino terrorist Abdul Basit Usman was able to get away.
On Sunday evening, March 15, government security forces arrested alleged Usman's coddler Ali Mohammad Tambako. – Rappler.com