• Crisis committee to look into Lanao violence

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    WAO, Lanao del Sur: Local leaders along with security forces formed a crisis management committee aimed at ending the violence between communities here.

    The committee was formed on Monday during an emergency tribal meeting held at the Wao Municipal Hall that was organized by Gov. Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr. of Lanao del Sur and Mayor Elvino Balicao Jr. of Wao, and was attended by representatives from the police, military and tribes.

    In the meeting, Balicao told stakeholders the recent attacks over the weekend that left at least six people dead and injured nine others were isolated cases.

    He also believe there is a “third party” behind the attacks that is taking advantage of the tensions between the Visayan tribesmen and the Muslims in the area.

    The mayor revealed there was previous violence, with some suspects in the records of the local police.

    There are still no identified suspects from Friday and Saturday’s killings.

    Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, the newly-installed provincial police director of Lanao del Sur, urged tribal leaders to help identify the perpetrators, while investigation is still ongoing.

    For his part, Adiong appealed to tribesmen for calm. Relatives of the Saturday’s killings of Maranao, especially in Wao’s neighboring town Bumbaran, were also asked not to retaliate.

    “We cannot allow that the peaceful relation between Muslims and Christians here will be ruined by these criminals,” he said.

    Wao, though dominated by Visayan-tribesmen settlers, is also a home for the Maranaos, the governor added.

    But a number of residents in the barangay have fled their homes for fear that violence would worsen.

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