Troops aid lumads displaced in Maguindanao

MT. FIRIS, Maguindanao – Teduray natives harassed by lawless elements in this mountain in Maguindanao fear to return home despite assurance that their communities are now safe.

Most of the lumads prefered to stay at nearby sitio Bagong, Barangay Kabingi, Datu Saudi Ampatuan town at night while trying to work on their agricultural crops at day time since they were harassed by IS-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) last December and early January.

“They (natives) fear the Moro bandits might return anytime and harass them anew,” Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, chief of 6th Civil Military Operations Battalion, told reporters during a relief mission for displaced Tedurays here on Sunday.

Besana and soldiers from the 6th CMO Battalion and 57th Infantry Battalion led the relief operation on assisting the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – Humanitarian Emergency Assistance Relief Team (ARMM-Heart) in providing 61 food packs intended for 61 Teduray families who refused to return home due to fear of the rebels and that they no more homes to settle in.

At least 18 homes of Teduray farmers were set ablazed by the BIFF when they harassed the farmers on Christmas Day. Sporadic firefight lasted until January 7 this year.

The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) admitted they could not sustain their daily needs because they cannot farm and live normal lives. Some male IDPs volunteered to become members of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) to help protect their lands against aggressors. (PNA)