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Warring clans arm cache seized by gov't troops in Lanao del Sur

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The military on Saturday seized a cached of high-powered firearms from warring clans, following a clearing operation in Lanao del Sur province.

Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said soldiers of the Joint Task Force Zampelan recovered three M14 , three M16, two M653, one caliber .22 rifles, and assorted magazines as well as ammunition in Barangay Madanding, Bacolod Kalawi town.

"Military units were deployed at 4:30 in the afternoon of January 5 when two warring factions from the Amanodin and Dipatuan clans of the same Barangay were engaged in a firefight that caused temporary disruption to the flow of traffic along the highway of the said municipality," Petinglay said in a statement.

The responding soldiers were fired upon by the unidentified armed men upon their arrival at the encounter site prompting them to fire back, she said.

After an hour of fighting, the clash subsided bringing back the flow of traffic to normal.

In the same statement, Major General Roseller Murillo, commander of the Joint Task Force Zampelan, said their soldiers acted immediately since they received reports that there were civilian casualties and many civilians in the area panicked due to the fighting.

"We would not tolerate any incidents of Rido anywhere in our area of operation and we will continue to conduct support to law enforcement operations together with the PNP," Murillo added.

According to Murillo, the firearms were believed to be just recently fired based on the carbon deposits found on the mouth of the barrel upon physical inspection by the troops.

"We are still investigating as to who owns the firearms recovered,” he said. “Our operating troops are certain that they were just recently fired. It is possible that the same firearms were used during the recent clash."

Currently, the recovered firearms are with the 103rd Brigade for documentation, finger printing, tracing and immediate filing of appropriate charges.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, Jr., Western Mindanao Command chief, commended the combined military and police forces under Murillo for acting swiftly to contain and stabilize the situation in Lanao del Sur.

“Henceforth this will be our template. The warring parties will be immediately disarmed and charged in order to prevent the unnecessary loss of innocent lives and strictly observe the rule of law,” added Galvez.

Government troops are still in the area conducting thorough search, while having dialogue with Bacolod Kalawi Municipal Officials and traditional leaders. Hader Glang




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