Armed men storm Maguindanao mayor’s satellite office

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 27 April) — A brief firefight erupted in Talitay, Maguindanao after some 30 armed men stormed the satellite mayor’s office in a remote village there Monday morning, a police official said.

Major Solaiman Bakal, Talitay police chief, said the armed men barged at the sub-office of Mayor Moner Sabal in Barangay Gadungan at around 8 a.m.

He said no one was injured as the armed men attacked when the office was still empty of people.

The suspects destroyed some office stuff, he added.

Bakal said that members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Joint Task Force Ittihad (peacekeepers) responded to the incident.

The suspects fired at the MILF peacekeepers that triggered a brief firefight.

Policemen based in the poblacion and soldiers in the area augmented the MILF members, prompting the suspects to withdraw.

Citing initial investigation, Bakal said the armed men allegedly belong to the Ameril clan, a political rival of the Sabal clan during the 2019 elections.

Moner Sabal, the town’s number one councilor, has put up a satellite office in Barangay Gadungan after assuming the post from his late father, Mayor Abdulwahab Sabal.

Abdulwahab was assassinated last February in Manila while attending a meeting of municipal mayors convened by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Moner’s uncle, Montassir Sabal, the town’s vice mayor, has been in hiding since winning the race last year.

Abdulwahab and Montassir Sabal were included in Duterte’s list of alleged narcopoliticians in the country.

Both have denied links to the drug trade.