DISPLACED BY FEUD. Families from two sub-villages of Barangay Sambolawan in Midsayap, North Cotabato, flee their homes when warring Moro families from both the MILF and MNLF traded bullets on Tuesday dawn (Oct. 4, 2022). A fleeing civilian was hurt in the skirmishes. (Photo courtesy of BARMM Special Geographic Area Facebook page)

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato – A civilian was injured by stray bullets when warring Moro families traded bullets in the remote village of this town due to a long-standing feud, police said Wednesday.

Lt. Colonel Rolly Oranza, municipal police chief, identified the victim as Ustadz Hassan Abdullah, 51, of Barangay Sambolawan here.

“This is a long-standing rido (clan war) involving Moro front members,” Oranza said, referring to families who belonged to Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The warring families are locked in fighting in two sub-villages of Barangay Sambolawan since Tuesday dawn, he said.

“This is not an organization fight, this is a local clan war due to land dispute,” Oranza said, adding that sporadic firing of guns still occurs in the area as of Wednesday morning.

Barangay Sambolawan now forms part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). It is one of the 63 villages in North Cotabato that opted to join the expanded autonomy set up during a two-part in 2019.

For fear of getting caught in the crossfire, hundreds of residents fled toward the nearby villages of Lumupog and Kapinpilan while Army clearing operations continued as of posting time.

Oranza said once the municipal peace and order council headed by Mayor Rolly Sacladan has greenlighted the return of displaced families, the police will assist them in returning home. (PNA)