A barangay chairman and tanod were injured as armed men fired at a group of North Cotabato village officials in Tulunan town, near the province’s boundary with Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao early Thursday, police said.

Hermogenes Obrique, chairman of Brgy. Bunawan, suffered a bullet wound on the leg while Teng Laman, a tanod and member of the B’laan tribe, suffered a bullet wound on the chest, Senior Supt. Cornelio Salinas, North Cotabato Provincial Police director, said.

The incident occurred around 5:30 a.m. while Obrique and other officials, along with tanods, were visiting farmers at Sitio Barko Barko, near the boundary of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, and Datu Paglas, Maguindanao.

“Harvest time ngayon doon sa area and usually pag ganitong time hina-harass ng armed men ‘yung farmers, mayroon ding land conflict among Muslim families in the area kaya nagpapatrol yung village officials,” Salinas said.

A police source, who declined to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the matter, said the assailants are believed to be members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Salinas said his investigators are still trying to identify the attackers. (John Roson)

– end –