COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 9, 2008) – Unidentified gunmen ambushed Sunday a group of Muslim children, killing one and wounding six more in the southern Philippines, a regional army spokesman said.
Lt. Col. Julieto Ando, of the 6th Infantry Division, said the attack occurred at around 6.30 a.m. in the village of Langayen in North Cotabato’s Pikit town. He said the victims were onboard a mini-van when gunmen opened fire on the vehicle as it passed the village.
“One child was killed in the ambush and at least six more were wounded. There is a pursuit operation going on,” Ando told the Mindanao Examiner.
He said the vehicle, owned by Norodin Ungkay, a member of the Aleosan municipal council, was heading to the downtown Pikit from the village of Dunguan in Pikit town when ambushed.
No group claimed responsibility for the ambush, but Ando said police and military were looking into reports that Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels could be involved in the attack.
“There is an investigation about this, about the involvement of rogue MILF members,” Ando said.
But the MILF said it has nothing to do with the ambush and blamed clan war as the culprit. “We have reports saying the ambush was connected to a clan war or family feud between two Muslim groups,” said Eid Kabalu, a senior MILF leader, who was monitoring the situation in the town, where rebels are actively operating.
The MILF is the country’s largest Muslim rebel group fighting the past three decades for self-determination in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)