Lanao Sur killings spark evacuation PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 02 May 2015 16:21

By WALTER I. BALANE

 

More than 1,000 residents fled Barangay Park Area in Wao, Lanao del Sur following the massacre of six people, not seven as earlier reported, prompting investigations by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and a fact-finding body created by the local government, officials said on Wednesday.

Nine people were also hurt in the incident, reports said.

The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) said a total of 1,115 barangay residents sought refuge at BLISS-Western in the town proper.

Lominog Poloyagan, municipal environment and natural resources officer, a Maranao, said the evacuees are a mix of Moro and settler folks from the upland areas.

Wao’s population is 83-percent setters and 17-percent Moro. The town used to be a predominantly Maranao community until settlers came in.

Poloyagan said the regional government deployed a humanitarian team and distributed relief goods to evacuees.

Lanao del Sur is part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Poloyagan cited that some persons spread alarming text messages such as the alleged occurrence of fighting in the upland areas causing the evacuation.

Desiree Macamay, Wao public information officer, said CHR-ARMM investigated the massacre over the weekend.

Macamay said via telephone that a four-member team from CHR-ARMM met with Mayor Elvino Balicao Jr. and other local officials on Tuesday before going to Barangay Park.

She said local police recovered four victims in Sitio Magampong early morning on April 25, one of whom was declared dead on arrival at the Kalilangan (Bukidnon) Emergency Hospital.

On April 24, two minors were found dead in Sitio Camp 2, also in Barangay Park. One of the bodies was that of a 15-year old girl, who was believed to have been raped. The other, that of a 13-year old boy who was tending a carabao, bore hack wounds.

Balicao did not take calls from MindaNews after an earlier interview but Macamay said the mayor created a 12-member fact-finding team which was scheduled to start investigations on Tuesday.

She said the team includes the town police chief and Fr. Floredelito “Yrap” Nazareno, parish priest of Wao’s Immaculate Concepcion parish.

Poloyagan said three elder members of the town’s Maranao community namely, retired Col. Lomala Amer, Ustadz Wahid Macabantog, and former OIC vice mayor Solaiman Domato were included in the team.

But Macamay quoted Balicao as saying there was still no evidence that would connect the massacre to the death of the two minors.

Lanao del Sur Gov.  Mamintal Adiong Jr., who came to Wao Monday to address a meeting of local leaders, also backed a thorough investigation and called on the people not to rush into judgment on the incidents.  — Walter I. Balane/MindaNews