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Moro clans in Maguindanao clash due to land dispute

Clashes erupted Tuesday afternoon in remote villages here between two rival Muslim clans who are fighting over control of vast track of agricultural lands, police said.

Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police provincial director, said the armed conflict involving commanders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and its breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has displaced an undetermined number of civilians.

Tello identified the warring leaders as Commander Malambeg Guiad of the MILF and Gani Saligan of the BIFF, which is considered by the military as a terrorist group.

"They fight over territorial control in remote barangays of Gen. SK Pendatun, it has been a recurring armed conflict," Tello told reporters. The two armed groups are contesting several hectares of corn and rice fields in Barangay Midpandacan.

Saligan has been wanted for various crimes, including multiple murder, extortion, robbery and illegal drugs.

Government forces have been deployed to serve as peacekeepers and ensure the safety of civilians, mostly Maguindanaons.

The police also sought the help of ceasefire monitors of the government and MILF peace panels to bring down the tension to allow the return of displaced families who sought shelter at the town center.

The local government of Gen. SK Pendatun provided the evacuees with food packs. (PNA) EOF