Thursday, September 23, 2010

6 killed in clan war in Philippines

Relatives bury the victims of attack in Patikul town in Sulu province in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo - Nickee Butlangan).

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 23, 2010) – Gunmen killed six people in an attack on a Muslim village in what police claimed was triggered by a long time clan war in the southern Filipino province of Sulu.

Police said it launched an operation on Thursday to track down the murderers in the town of Patikul. The attack late Wednesday also left two more people wounded.

“We are still investigating the attack, but initial reports pointed to rido or clan war as the motive of the killings,” said Senior Superintendent Joseph Ramac, chief of the Sulu police force.

He said more policemen were sent to the village to prevent the escalation of hostilities between the warring clans. "We have additional forces in the area," he told the Mindanao Examiner by phone from Sulu province.

Clan war is not uncommon in the southern Philippines, particularly among Muslim clans and the U.S. Agency for International Development and think-tank The Asia Foundation have said more than 3,000 people have been killed over the past seven decades in family feuds in the restive region.

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 killings.

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. (With a report from Nickee Butlangan)

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