WAO, Lanao del Sur: The police and military have tightened security in this town amid growing tension between two communities here after four people were killed and nine others injured in separate attacks over the weekend. Local leaders are seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Insp. Erickson Baniaga, Wao police chief, said tensions started on Firday afternoon when an unidentified man slayed two of three minors a belonging to Ilonggo tribes while they were on their way to feed their carabao or water buffalo in Sitio Campo Dos, Barangay Park Area.
The lone survivor, younger brother of one of the slain minors, was able to escape.
A day later or on Saturday at 5:00 am, Baniaga said a second attack occurred at Sitio Manampang, Barangay Park Area which was staged by still unidentified group of armed men, who fired at community houses owned by the Maranaos.
Initial investigation said the attackers first killed Anipah Sumayan, 29-years-old, before firing at four houses that killed Master Pendatun, 50, a certain Emran, 10 and Almirah Sumayan, 22.
Those wounded in the ambush-like attack were identified as Amron Balindong, 27; a three-month pregnant Samanirah Sumayan, 21; Faisal Sumayan, 19; a four-month pregnant Mailyn Ambatu, 18; a certain Raymah, 17; Jamel Mandoc, 22; a certain Naipah, 5; Abdie Mangotara, 29; and Orak Mangotara, 18. They were rushed to different hospitals in nearby province Bukidnon.
Authorities are still investigating the two crimes and vowed justice for the victims.
Apparently, the killing spree occurred in a controversial non-Muslim dominated town of Lanao del Sur noted for its refusal to be included in the proposed Bangsamoro new political entity to be ruled under the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Mayor Elvino Balicao Jr. of Wao, however, appealed to the public to treat the situation as an isolated case and avoid speculating.
“I call everyone to spare this case as a non-BBL related issue. I had already called the attention of Muslim leaders here to look for a peaceful resolution of this isolated case,” he said, referring to misinformation circulated believed to be creating hatred between Muslims and Christians.
He said Gov. Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr. of Lanao del Sur will visit the town to ease the growing tension between the two tribes and solve the issue before it escalates.