MILF, MNLF forces clash; hundreds evacuate

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - At least 100 families left their homes in Matalam town in North Cotabato as ground units of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) exchanged gunfire on Sunday, May 5. 

Reports say the fighting commenced at around 6 in the evening Sunday.

Von Al-Haq, spokesman of the MILF's Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, said members of the 108th Base Command were on an advocacy campaign to call on support for the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro when the clashes erupted.

The Framework Agreement paves the way for the establishment of the new autonomous political entity, Bangsamoro, that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The MILF is a splinter group from MNLF, which inked its own peace deal with the government in 1996, under the term of then President Fidel Ramos. The peace deal mandated the establishment of ARMM. 

"The MNLF forces were uncooperative to the advocacy gathering which resulted to the tension," Al-Haq said.

The Moro rebel leader said the fighting has already stopped and members of the ceasefire committee are already on the ground to resolve the tension.

There are no reports of any casualties as of posting.

The MILF is also presently looking at the condition of the evacuees. - Rappler.com