2,000 residents affected in Basilan conflict

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 14 April) – As a ceasefire was declared today, over 2,000 residents are presently affected by the recent armed conflict in Baguindan village in Tipo-Tipo town in Basilan province, Mayor Ingatun Istarul told MindaNews.

Istarul’s pronouncement came this noon as Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Social Welfare Secretary Rahima Datumanong-Alba personally delivered to the evacuation center in Tipo-Tipo some 260 sacks of rice provided by the regional government.

Nenita Dumagin, municipal social welfare and development officer of Tipo-Tipo, said that 586 families from Baguinda and Silangkung communities have been displaced.

SP02 Mohammad Hassan, of the Philippine National Police Provincial Public Safety Office, said in a separate interview that 169 families from Kunuh Lennuh and Bohe Piang in Al-Barka are all seeking shelter in Tipo-Tipo.

Dumagin further shared that the distribution of the 260 sacks of rice was based on a 3:1 ratio, or three families per sack.

But Harishian Jakaria, a resident of Baguindan, said that for her family of 10, one-third sack of rice will last only 10 days. She added that her husband, Nashier, a farmer, could not also go back since their locale is where soldiers and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have been shooting at each other since last Sunday.

The other day, Provincial Board Member Tahira Ismael sent support via a truckload of relief goods thru the provincial government.

The evacuees, housed temporarily at Tipo-Tipo Central School, are mostly women and children.

As of today, a lull followed the three-day conflict that has already caused the death of 50 people and wounding 60 others. Baguindan residents were saddened that a civilian was reportedly hit by friendly fire.