Lanao Sur clan war linked to Iligan ambush

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MARAWI CITY: Police in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are looking into the possibility that a “rido” or clan war that wounded five people in Lanao del Sur is linked to the ambush of a barangay (village) chairman in Iligan City in 2017.

An earlier report said six were killed in the Lanao del Sur “rido.”

Chief Supt. Graciano Mijares, ARMM police regional director, said they are investigating if the clash on Saturday is connected to the attack on Azuhry Dipatuan, chairman of Barangay Dipatuan, whom armed men ambushed outside a restaurant in Pala-o, Iligan City, last November 15.

He said Dipatuan, 35, is a member of a clan involved in the fight with the Amanodin family on Saturday in the town of Bacolod Calawi some 20 kilometers northwest of Marawi City.


DEADLY WEAPONS The Western Mindanao Command released on Sunday this photo of weapons that troops recovered in Bacolod Calawi, Lanao del Sur, after clashes between two warring Muslim clans. PHOTO BY AL JACINTO

Col. Romeo Brawner, Joint Task Force Ranao (JTFR) deputy commander, confirmed that only five were wounded in the clash between the Amanodin and Dipatuan clans.

The gunfight disrupted traffic flow along the highway for about an hour.

The JFTR identified the wounded as Hisam Pukunum Dipatuan, 34; Abdulbarie Macaborod, 22; Samsudin Malawad, 41; Casain Pangcoga, 55; and Jamel Panggoga, 35.

Vice Mayor Jaafar Dipatuan of Bacolod Calawi confirmed that the wounded victim was from the Dipatuan family.

Brawner said the joint task force is also investigating claims of some quarters that there was an exchange of M-203 rifle grenade and M-79 grenade launcher gunfire between the warring families.

The armed clash that lasted for about six hours happened near the coastal waters of Lake Lanao in Barangay Gandamato.

Senior Supt. John Guyguyon, head of the Police Provincial Office, said his men and soldiers of the 65th Infantry Battalion (IB) under Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo responded but unidentified armed men fired upon them, triggering a clash.

Police said a long-running family feud is a possible motive for the clash, although authorities are looking for other possible angles.

Murillo said the military will not tolerate acts of violence based on family feuds anywhere in Lanao del Sur specially since martial law is still imposed in the whole of Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command (WesMincon), said responding soldiers recovered three M14 rifles; three M16 rifles; two M653 rifles; a caliber .22 rifle; and assorted magazines and ammunition.

There were no reports of arrests, but Petinglay quoted Murillo as saying there were civilian casualties.

“Our soldiers acted immediately since we received reports that there were civilian casualties and many civilians in the area panicked due to the fighting. We would not tolerate any incidents of ‘rido’ anywhere in our area of operation and we will continue to conduct support to law enforcement operations together with the PNP [Philippine National Police],” Murillo said.

It was unclear how the warring clan members managed to pass through military and police checkpoints in the town or whether authorities were unaware or failed in their intelligence gathering, which could have prevented the fighting.

Petinglay also quoted Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., WesMincom commander, as saying that the “warring parties will be immediately disarmed and charged in order to prevent the unnecessary loss of innocent lives and to strictly observe the rule of law.”

WITH DEMPSEY REYES

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