Friday, October 31, 2008

2 Killed, 9 Wounded In Clan War In Southern RP Isle

SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 31, 2008) – At least two people were killed and 9 others wounded in a firefight between followers of two Muslim clans in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, police said Friday.

Police said the fighting erupted in the island of Tulayan in the town of Luuk late Thursday afternoon. “Two people are dead in the fighting and at least nine more were wounded in the fighting between two warring Muslim clans,” Senior Superintendent Julasirim Kasim, the Sulu police chief, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Kasim said more policemen were sent to the island to prevent the escalation of hostilities between the Omar and Buclao families, which have been fighting over ancestral lands.

He said Gov. Sakur Tan ordered police and military to disarm the protagonists and seize all illegal weapons on the island and file criminal charges against those involved in the fighting. “There is a joint police and military operation to disarm private armies in the area,” he said.

Tan previously ordered authorities to dismantle private armies and seize all illegal weapons and declared a total gun ban in the province.

Kasim said the protagonists traded mortar fire and engaged in sporadic clashes that lasted well into the night. He said the fighting subsided after police, backed by government soldiers, were deployed on the island.

Police said fighting in May between the two warring Muslim families of Arbison and Amiril in Luuk town also killed one person and wounded six others. The fighting, it said, was triggered by an old family feud.

Clan feud or rido is common in many parts of the southern Philippines. The U.S. Agency for International Development and think tank Asia Foundation have said more than 3,000 people have been killed over the past seven decades in family feuds in the southern Philippines.

Rido can involve disputes among family members or among two or more rival families, pitting neighbors or different ethnic groups against each other. The disputes center on issues of land, money, marriage or political power and involve revenge killing.

The violence increases with each act of retaliation, broadening to include those not directly involved in the dispute, including women and children, according to the Asia Foundation, adding, some feuds lasted for decades. (Mindanao Examiner)

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