CHR, LGU probe Wao, Lanao Sur killings; hundreds flee homes

MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/April 29) More than a thousand persons fled their homes in Brgy. Park Area in Wao, Lanao del Sur following the reported killings of a total of six people, not seven as earlier reported, prompting investigation from the Commission on Human Rights and a local government unit created fact-finding body.

The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) estimated a total of 1,115 internally displaced persons from villages who flocked to an area in the town proper called BLISS-Western.

Lominog Poloyagan, Wao’s municipal environment and natural resources officer, who is a member of the town’s Maranao community, said the evacuees are a mix of Moro and settler folks from the upland areas.

Wao is 83% inhabited by setters and 17 per cent by Moro.

He added that the ARMM regional government deployed a humanitarian team and distributed relief goods to evacuees.

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

Desiree Macamay, Wao public information officer, said the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao is investigating the recent killings over the weekend in Wao, Lanao del Sur that killed a total of six persons and hurt nine others in two days.

Macamay said via telephone that a four-member team from CHR-ARMM met with Mayor Elvino Balicao Jr and other local officials on Tuesday. The CHR group proceeded to Brgy. Park Area, site of the killings.

She stressed that local police can only account for a total of four dead in the Sitio Magampong massacre early morning on April 25, the fourth being a victim who was declared dead upon arrival at the Kalilangan (Bukidnon) Emergency Hospital. Nine other persons were injured in the massacre. On April 24, bodies of two minors were found dead in Sitio Camp 2, also in Brgy. Park Area. One of the bodies was that of a 15-year old girl, believed to be raped. The other, that of a 13-year old boy who was tending to a carabao, reportedly hacked.

Balicao has not taken call attempts from MindaNews after an earlier interviews but Macamay said the mayor created a 12-member fact-finding team to investigate what happened. The group met to start investigations on Tuesday.

She said among the members of the team includes the Wao police chief and Fr. Floredelito “Yrap” Nazareno, parish priest of Wao’s Catholic Church Immaculate Concepcion parish. Poloyagan said three elder members of the town’s Maranao community namely, Ret. Col. Lomala Amer, Ustadz Wahid Macabantog, and former OIC vice mayor Solaiman Domato were included in the team.

But Macamay said that Mayor Balicao clarified that there is still no evidence connecting the slaying of two minors on April 24 in Camp 2 and the massacre killing four and wounding nine others on April 24 in Sitio Magampong, all in Brgy. Park Area.

She said the mayor cited that it is what the local fact-finding team is searching in their investigation. Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr, who came to Wao Monday to address a meeting of local leaders, also backed deep investigation and called on the people not to rush at divisive judgments on the incidents. (Walter I. Balane/BukidnonNews.Net)