From InterAksyon (Aug 5): Military on full alert in Maguindanao on Ramadan end
Military checkpoint in Cotabato City, 5 August 2013. DENNIS ARCON/InterAksyon.com
The entire 6th Infantry Division is on full alert in the province of Maguindanao as Ramadan ends this Friday.
The alert level was raised after news spread in the province that an armed group seeks to wreak havoc here.
The end of Ramadan, or Eid al-F’tr, also marks the end of a month-long fasting among Muslims.
Commanding General Romeo Gapuz, of the 6th ID, immediately directed everyone under his command to effect measures that would secure civilians within their area of responsibility, said 6th ID spokesman Dicson Hermoso.
In a related development, hundreds of families initially evacuated last week following an encounter between the military and some armed groups are staying at the evactuation center by the national highway in Barangay Macasampen in the town of Guindolongan.
The evacuees have moved many times due to armed conflict even before the observance of Ramadan last month.
A number of civilians, soldiers, and those from the armed groups have lost their lives in the fighting.
The civilians most affected by the armed conflict have thus called for peace among the combatants.
At the same time, Maguindanao Vice Governor Datu Lester Sinsuat said he is saddened by the breakout of violence in the province. He said the people have already suffered the floods and the firefight in the month of Ramadan.
He expressed hope that dialogue will stop the violence. He said he hopes that the Bangsamoro definition of Islam -- peace -- will be maintained.