Military to warring clans in Lanao Sur: “we will strictly implement total gun ban”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 07 January) — The military has warned warring clans in the province of Lanao del Sur “not to pursue their intentions to attack their adversaries” as the Joint Task Force Ranao (JTF Ranao) will “strictly implement” the total gun ban “as it applies the full force of martial law in Mindanao.”

Major General Roseller Murillo, commander of the 1st Infantry Division and concurrent chief of JTF Ranao, issued the warning following the wounding of five persons in an armed clash between warring factions in Bacolod-Kalawi town in Lanao del Sur afternoon of January 5.

Wounded were Hisam Pukunum Dipatuan, 34, on the Dipatuan side and four on the Amanodin side: Abdulbarie Macaborod, 22; Samsudin Malawad, 41; Casain Pangcoga, 55; and Jamel Pangcoga, 35.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom)  commended the military and police under Murillo for acting swiftly.

“Henceforth this will be our template,” Galvez was quoted in a press release issued by the Command Public Information Office on January 7.  The warring parties, he said, “will be immediately disarmed and charged in order to prevent the unnecessary loss of innocent lives and strictly observe the rule of law.”

In a press release issued on January 6, JTF Ranao said that at around 4:30 in the afternoon of January 5, members of the Amanodin and Dipatuan clans engaged in a shootout in Barangay Gandamato, Bacolod-Kalawi, which lasted for about an hour and caused the disruption of traffic flow along the Marawi-Cotabato national highway.

The Amanodin and Dipatuan clans have a long-standing rido. The town’s mayor and vice mayor are from the Dipatuan clan. The mayor is Abdulmohaimen while the vice mayor, Jaafar, is his father, the former mayor.

Rido is defined in the book, “Rido: Clan Feuding and Conflict Management in Mindanao” as “a state of recurring hostilities between families and  kinship groups characterized by a series of retaliatory acts of violence carried out to avenge a perceived affront or injustice.”

Troops from the 65th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, responded but were fired upon by unidentified armed men, prompting them to return fire for about 15 minutes and implement a ceasefire, JTF Ranao said.

Murillo said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will not tolerate incidents of rido and will continue to conduct law enforcement operations in cooperation with the Philippine National Police, while martial law is in effect.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law for 60 days on May 23 last year at the start of the five-month Marawi Siege. It was extended until December 31, 2017 and was again extended until December 31 this year.

The Command PIO press release reported that at 10:30 am. Saturday, soldiers who were on clearing operations were able to recover nine firearms: three M14 rifles; three M16 rifles; two M653 rifles; one caliber .22 rifle; and assorted magazines and ammunition.

Guns seized by soldiers who conducted clearing operations after the armed clash between warring clans in Bacolod-Kalawi in Lanao del Sur on January 5. The firearms were believed to be just recently fired based on the carbon deposits found on the mouth of the barrel upon physical inspection by the troops. Photo courtesy of Wesmincom CPIO

It said the firearms were believed to be just recently fired based on the carbon deposits found on the mouth of the barrel upon physical inspection by the troops.

“We are still investigating as to who owns the firearms recovered,” Murillo was quoted as saying, adding that the troops “are certain that they were just recently fired.’

“It is possible that the same firearms were used during the recent clash,” Murillo said.

The firearms have been turned over to the 103rd Brigade for documentation, finger pinting, tracing and immediate filing of appropriate charges. (MindaNews)