Fourteen people have been reported killed as skirmishes between members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and a splinter group continued in Maguindanao yesterday (Thursday), a military spokesman said.

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

Fatalities on Adzmie’s group were identified as a certain Castro, Armando Pendi, Kamsa Gani, Sharu Tia, Dagudag Gadiao, and Lacoste Abdul while those of Abunawas remain unidentified, Asto said by phone.

The clashes in Datu Piang, which erupted town Saturday night, stopped on Wednesday but tensions rose anew as fighting resumed again Thursday morning in Brgy. Muslim, Guindulungan.

“Lumipat sila kagabi at medyo may mga skirmishes na nangyayari,” Asto said.

Field reports indicated that on 8 a.m. Adzmie’s nephew, Brgy. Muslim kagawad Doren Kasim, teamed up with commander Tamano Mamalapat and members of the MILF 105th Base Command in a clash with commanders Markay and Barracuda of the BIFF.

Around 9:15 a.m., another skirmish occurred in Datu Piang with members of a private armed group of the influential Ampatuan clan reportedly joining in.

About 150 members of the private armed group led by Datu Bahnarin Ampatuan, Kagui Nasser, and commander Adzmie were reportedly attacked by the group of commander Abunawas in Brgy. Liong.

Asto said the military is still verifying the information, but expressed concern as the fresh skirmishes may force more people to evacuate.

Some 482 families or 2,500 people have been taking shelter in an evacuation center in Datu Piang since the fighting started.

“Tensions continue to rise as movement of reinforcing elements from both sides were monitored. This further aggravated the situation and further increase the suffering of internally-displaced persons,” Asto said.

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)

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