ARMY DEPLOYS PEACEKEEPERS FOR TROUBLED NOCOT VILLAGE
Several of the guns used in the Dec. 1, 2018 ambush in Matalam, North Cotabato, which were seized by authorities from 16 suspects. (Photo courtesy of the Police Regional Office – 12)
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- The Army in North Cotabato on Tuesday deployed two teams of infantrymen to act as peacekeepers in a remote village in Matalam, North Cotabato following an ambush by gunmen on members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) that killed three and injured four others recently.
Brig. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., commander of the Army's 602nd Infantry Brigade, said the soldiers will prevent further violence resulting from the Saturday ambush, which was triggered by a land dispute.
Rosario also met with local leaders of the MNLF and civilians, who armed themselves to protect their lands and farms from harassment, to get their commitment and prevent similar violence in the future.
The victims, all members of the MNLF–Nur Misuari faction, were on board three motorbikes heading to their farms in Barangay Kibudoc, Matalam when ambushed by gunmen last Saturday.
The fatalities were identified as George Dilangalen, During Panga, and Mohammad Angeles, all MNLF members who died at the scene due to multiple gunshot wounds.
Wounded were MNLF members Jomer and Datu Ali, both surnamed Sultan, and also siblings Samsudin and Suharto Dilangalen. The ambush was preceded by a series of shooting and counter shooting involving farmers disputing ownership of vast parcels of land in the village.
Responding policemen arrested 16 persons, including four minors, and seized high-powered firearms from them.
The arrested farmers claimed they have equipped themselves to defend their lands from armed MNLF members, who are also farmers in the area.
Rosario said only military and police personnel are currently allowed to carry guns in the village.
“No member of the MNLF or civilians are permitted to carry firearms in Barangay Kibudoc,” he said. (PNA)