It’s not only in Metro Manila that people are trapped.
While flood and landslide due to the monsoon rains the past days have confined people to certain places and access to them difficult in Metro Manila and some parts of Luzon, it’s a more worrisome situation in Muslim Mindanao.
Reports from Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur said people are caught in the middle in the latest clash between government troops and the breakaway Moro rebel group headed by Ameril Umbra Kato.
Here’s yesterday’s report by Mindanews’ Froilan Gallardo:
“Three soldiers and two civilians, including a 10-year-old boy, were killed while 30 others, mostly students, were wounded when gunmen believed to be members of a private armed group attacked an Army patrol inside the state-run Mindanao State University in Marawi City Tuesday night.
“Col. Daniel Lucero, Chief of the 103rd Infantry Brigade, said the gunmen first ambushed an Army truck as it went inside the university near the Ayala Compound around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, killing the three soldiers and wounding 10 others.
“An ensuing firefight raged for several minutes as the wounded soldiers fought back at the gunmen who positioned themselves along the road leading to the University.
“Lucero said 20 civilians, mostly students were caught in the cross fire, resulting to the death of one civilian at the hospital.
“After staging the ambush, Lucero said the gunmen attacked another Army base guarding the Agus hydro dam in downtown Marawi City.
“He said the 10-year-old boy was killed in the crossfire while another soldier was wounded.
“Lucero said the gunmen were out to seek revenge against the soldiers of the 6thth Infantry Battalion for the killing of one of their members last month.
““Many of these members are young and I will not be surprised if they are on drugs because of the ferocity of the attacks, “ Lucero said.
“Lucero did not identify the politician coddling the armed gunmen pending their investigation.”Mindanews’s report Monday filed Ferdinandh B. Cabrera said the Guindulungan-Shariff Aguak portion of the Cotabato-General Santos highway has been ordered closed temporarily while soldiers conduct clearing operations following the series of harassments late Sunday night by elements of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters whose leader Kato, broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in December 2009.
The attacks came on the eve of the resumption of the peace talks between the Philippine government (GPH) and the MILF in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Maj. Gen. Ray Ardo, chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Divisiono said they are still determining who ordered the BIFF elements to attack given that its founder and leader, Kato, who suffered a stroke in November last year, is believed to have been rendered incapacitated.
Emilio Escobillo, chair of the Biocrest Multi-Purpose Cooperative and Transport Services, which operates the Husky Bus that serves the General Santos-Koronadal-Cotabato route, told MindaNews eight of their buses have been stranded coming from both sides (Cotabato and General Santos).
Around 300 passengers have been stranded since the first trips on both ways have been advised not to proceed, he added.
As we pray for those who are suffering due to the monsoon rains in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon, let’s include our countrymen in Mindanao whose disrupted lives have been made worse by these latest hostilities.