Clashes between members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and a splinter group in Datu Piang, Maguindanao, have already left at least six combatants dead and several wounded, a military spokesman said Wednesday.

Four were killed among the men of MILF 106th Base Command leader Adzmie Kasim while two died on the side of commander Abunawas of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Army 6th Infantry Division spokesman Col. Prudencio Asto said in a text message.

The ongoing clashes, which stemmed from a land conflict, also forced about 210 families to evacuate, he said.

Sporadic gunfire were heard again 3 p.m. Tuesday in Brgy. Balanakan after heavy fighting erupted at the boundary of Brgy. Liong and Brgy. Alonganen Saturday night, Asto said.

Brigadier Gen. Restituto Aguilar, senior military adviser to the government’s peace panel, said Abunawas and Adzmie’s families have long been fighting over a six-hectare agricultural land, but the feud has turned into an “organizational conflict.”

“Unfortunately, the rido has now heightened into an organizational conflict between the BIAF and the BIFF. If not dealt with the soonest possible time, this could lead to further casualties and displacement of civilians,” Aguilar said in a statement Tuesday.

The BIFF was formed by Ameril Umbra Kato, an MILF commander who broke away after being “sanctioned” by the rebel group for attacks on civilian communities in 2008 and 2009. (John Roson)

– end –