KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 14 Nov) – The Bangsamoro government has created Task Force Reconciliation to address the conflict between armed groups in Pikit, North Cotabato that killed at least 12 persons in the past few months.
Bangsamoro Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim called a meeting on Saturday, which culminated with the creation of the task force tasked to resolve the sporadic skirmishes in Pikit town.
He noted the creation of a reconciliation committee “would prevent the recurring retaliations from parties involved in the feud and that it can ward off the escalation of conflict in the area.”
“We should identify the root cause of the problem and strengthen the reconciliation so that we could start to negotiate as soon as possible,” Ebrahim said in a report released by the Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO).
During the meeting, land issues and injustices that were not redressed in the past surfaced as among the root causes of the conflict, it added.
Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua was assigned to head the task force, which will be composed of representatives from the local government units in North Cotabato, the 6th Infantry Division, Police Regional Office – BARMM and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, among others.
Earlier, Pikit Mayor Sumulong Sultan sought the assistance of the Bangsamoro government in addressing the peace and order condition in his town.
In September, a misleading Facebook post claimed that Pikit had turned into a ghost town due to the “daily killings” that occurred in the municipality.
Sultan, who admitted there was a peace and order problem in their municipality, belied the fake news, saying then that it’s business as usual in their town.
At least a dozen individuals have been killed in Pikit in the last few months, eight of them in August in separate incidents, reportedly due to rido or clan war. In some skirmishes, innocent civilians were displaced.
Last month, North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño – Mendoza appealed to constituents in Pikit to help authorities solve the spate of killings in the area that reportedly sowed fear among the residents.
“We need the people of Pikit to unite and fight for peace together,” she said in a statement.
Most of the killings reportedly occurred in the villages of Pikit that form part of the Bangsamoro Special Geographic Area (SGA).
Twenty-two of the 42 villages in Pikit opted to join the BARMM. From six towns in North Cotabato, 63 villages opted for inclusion to the BARMM. They are collectively called the SGA.
Pikit town, however, still remains a part of Soccsksargen or Region 12. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)