2 Basilan warring clans settle dispute, yield 20 loose firearms

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two warring clans of Basilan province have peacefully settled their decades-long dispute and surrendered 20 loose firearms as they renounced violence, military officials announced Friday.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the protagonists signed a peace covenant in a ceremony around 3 p.m. Wednesday at the headquarters of the 4th Special Forces Battalion in Barangay Cabunbata, Isabela City, the capital of Basilan province.

Vinluan named the protagonists as that of Basi Aba and Uztadz Gapur of Barangay Sulloh, Tapiantana Island, Tabuan Lasa town, and Barahim and Mirang Hassan of Barangay Tong-Umos of the same island.

The municipality of Tabuan Lasa, which comprises 12 barangays, is divided into four islands. The other three islands are Lanawan, the town’s capital, Bubuan, and Saluping.

Vinluan said the settlement of disputes was realized through the efforts of the 4SFBn in coordination with Basilan Police Provincial Office, Ulama Council, Council of Elders, and the municipal government of Tabuan-Lasa.

“Based on the report submitted by the Joint Task Force (JTF)-Basilan, the warring parties signed a peace covenant as a firm commitment to the settlement,” he added.

Lt. Col. Alex Ampati, 4SFBn commander, said that both parties turned over a total of 20 loose firearms, which include two “Baby” Armalite rifles, an M-16 Armalite rifle, 14 U.S. caliber .30 M1 Garand rifles, an M-14 rifle, a caliber .30 M1 Carbine, a caliber .357 revolver, and assorted magazines and ammunition.

The firearms were presented to Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, JTF-Basilan commander.

“I would like to commend our SF (Special Forces) troopers, our partners, and stakeholders for taking the active action to end the rido (clan war) in Tabuan-Lasa,” Gobway said.

“This gesture of the former feuding clans is very much appreciated. May they serve as a good example for others to follow so that everybody will have a chance to live in harmony and prosperity,” Vinluan said.

Since January 1 this year, a total of 70 loose firearms were turned over to the different Joint Task Forces under the command of the Westmincom.

Some 21 of the 70 were turned over to the JTF Central, eight to JTF ZamPeLan, 13 to JTF Tawi-Tawi, one to JTF Zamboanga, five to JTF Sulu, and 22 to JTF Basilan. (PNA)

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