ZAMBOANGA CITY – The military will be having separate dialogues with two opposing political camps in the town of Al-Barka, Basilan to prevent further violence as the election season nears.
Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, 101st Infantry Brigade commander, said Saturday the military is initiating the measures as two persons were killed when the groups of Al-Barka Mayor Darussalam Lajid and Vice Mayor Mujib Jakilan clashed earlier this month triggered by political disagreement.
One of the two fatalities was a follower of Lajid while the other was of Jakilan's.
However, Gobway disclosed that a nephew of Lajid was recently killed when the group of Jakilan retaliated.
“I will invite them one after the other for a dialogue and to tell them to stop fighting. They should pity their followers. They (Lajid and Jakilan) are cousins,” Gobway said.
Gobway said the dispute between Lajid and Jakilan started when the town mayor asked Jakilan to allow him to seek re-election contrary to their previous agreement.
“They agreed that after the three-year term of Lajid, Jakilan will run for mayor. But Lajid is asking to give him another term, which Jakilan disagrees,” he said.
He said troops were stationed in Al-Barka to assist the police to maintain law and order and to prevent further clashes between the two political groups.
Al-Barka town was created by Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 191, ratified by plebiscite on May 22, 2002. It is composed of 16 barangays that were formerly part of Tipo-Tipo town.
Al-Barka has a population of 23,736 as of the 2020 census. (PNA)