COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Six people, including several militiamen, were killed in a fierce encounter that followed an ambush in a special geographic area of the Bangsamoro region in Cotabato province on Friday afternoon, December 9.
Colonel Donald Gumiran, the commander of the Army’s 602nd Brigade, said the fierce encounter took place immediately after an armed group ambushed a member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in the village of Tapodoc.
Gumiran said the militiaman was on his way to his outpost near the boundaries of the villages of Bualan and Tapodoc on a motorcycle when the armed group sprayed him with automatic gunfire.
He said other militiamen nearby rushed to the ambush site and found the victim dead.
The two groups clashed when the militiamen pursued the suspects, he said.
Villagers, however, alleged that the militiamen went to their community and started shooting houses.
The hostilities have reportedly forced several families to flee their homes in search of safer ground.
Aleosan police chief Major Jennifer Amotan said the militiamen and the armed group were known to have long been holding grudges against each other.
Aleosan Mayor Eduardo Cabaya said the local government was looking into the circumstances surrounding the recent hostilities in the town.
Cabaya said the area where the ambush and encounter took place is part of the territory of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
While Cotabato province is part of the Soccsksargen region, some of its areas voted to become part of the BARMM. – Rappler.com