281 families displaced in N. Cotabato clash
COTABATO CITY - Over 200 families were forced to flee after a firefight erupted between two warring groups in the boundary of Barangay Talitay, North Cotabato and Pagalungan, Maguindanao Wednesday night.
According to Capt. Antonio Bulao, spokesperson of the Army's 602nd Brigade, the firefight transpired at around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Based on their investigation, armed men believed to be under Commander Buto Sanday of the 108th base command of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) positioned in Talitay and harassed civilians in Barangay Bagoenged, Pagalungan.
The target of the said harassment is believed to be the group of Kamad Andoy, former Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) president of Pagalungan and a former mayoralty candidate in the midterm elections.
A group of a certain Commander Bigkog and Badawi Poko also strafed some houses in Barangay Kudal, Pagalungan.
The clash forced around 281 families to evacuate the area for fear that they may get caught in the crossfire.
Around 30 families were reportedly stranded in Bagoenged Elementary School due to the incident.
The 5th Special Forces Battalion already coordinated with Pagalungan municipal police station for the evacuation of the stranded families intelligence operatives intensified monitoring of the incident.
Meanwhile, classes at Kudal Elementary School were suspended Thursday due to the firefight.