UPDATED: 2 killed, 3 wounded in Tulunan clashes; hundreds flee

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TULUNAN, North Cotabato (MindaNews/18 June) – An armed civilian and an alleged Moro rebel were killed while three others were wounded in in clashes Sunday between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and armed farmers that have also displaced hundreds of families from four sitios of Barangay Maybula and another sitio in Barangay New Bunawan.

Senior Insp. Ronnie Cordero, chief of Tulunan police, identified one of the fatalities as Dondon Palomo, a member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) of Maybula and an employee of a banana plantation in the same area.


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The evacuees numbering 168 families came from sitios Silang, Malipayon, Saban and Purok 1 in Maybula and sitio Tuburan in New Bunawan, and have fled to the barangay centers.

Rose Abad, a resident of Saban said Palomo was one of their “war dogs,” the name for BPAT members who carry firearms to protect their village from MILF attacks. His body was recovered in Malipayon.

Also killed during the encounter was an alleged MILF member whose body was recovered in nearby Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat, reports said.

Three other MILF members were wounded during the fighting, Cordero said, citing a report from the Columbio police.

He said the clashes erupted when MILF rebels allegedly attacked the detachment of the 57th Infantry Battalion around 4pm Sunday.

The police official said the MILF fired mortars that landed near the camp of the 57th IB.

“Our government troops are on a defensive position. Since it was the MILF that first launched the attack, our soldiers had to defend their position. The soldiers saw the rebels getting nearer the detachment of the Peacekeeping Forces. So they returned fire,” said Cordero.

Palomo’s group, he said, came to help the soldiers repulse the MILF.

Armed civilians came to help the soldiers who were outnumbered, he added.

Palomo was hit in the stomach and died from severe blood loss.

Reports said the MILF rebels tried to regain position of Barko-Barko, a high ground southeast of Malipayon. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)

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