180 villagers flee as tribal war looms

Jun. 22, 2009

By Concerned Information News Service/MMNS
(August 15, 1987 News Digest Volume 1, August 1987-July 1988 Posted by Davao Today)

SURRALLAH, South Cotabato (CINS/MMNS) — At least 180 residents have streamed out of a mountain village to escape a possible outbreak of armed reprisal between warring Ilonggo and T’boli tribesmen.

Police said that two Ilonggos were killed and another was seriously wounded July 31 in barangay Little Baguio in an attack by T’boli tribesmen apparently to avenge the slaying of Kulas Flang. Flang, a T’boli was stabbed to death near the barrio proper shortly before the attack was carried out against Ilonggos.

Authorities refuse to identify Flang’s assailants who witnesses said “ganged up on the victim like bees” pending investigation by the police.

Residents claimed that Flang belonged to a notorious gang of cattle rustlers whose members were remnants of one Jeffrey Senonok’s band. Senonok, a former student at the Passionist-run Sta. Cruz Mission school in Lake Sebu town was reportedly beheaded by militiamen.

The two Ilonggos killed were Melchisedec Calibayan; 70 and his nephew Romy Calibayan, 21.

Kagawad Jose Dizon said the tribesmen attacked the duo in their residents. The older Calibayan died from bullet wounds while his nephew succumb from hack wounds.

Earlier, the tribesmen shot Paging Vicente, 20, who is still in a serious condition as of presstime.

Local officials expresses fears that a tribal war may erupt anytime as more than a dozen Ilongo residents brandishing homemade rifles have been seen patrolling the village. They said they would strike at any T’boli tribesmen and protect Ilonggos from further attacks.

The armed tribesmen who have retreated to the mountains south of this town were believed to be remnants of a group which raided barangay Maculan, Lake Sebu June 30 last year. The band led by Senonok killed five residents and raped four girls after taking them hostages.

The evacuees are presently harbored by relatives at the barrio proper while others fled to the poblacion and nearby Banga town.

A tribal war erupted last year after the ouster of T’boli mayor Mai Tuan who wanted to block the appointment of an Ilonggo officer-in-charge. A total of 25 persons were slain in the reprisals. (Media Mindanao News Service News Digest Volume 1, August 1987-July 1988 Posted by Davao Today)

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