To avoid further violence as the election season approaches, the military will have separate talks with two competing political camps in the town of Al-Barka, Basilan.
The military is taking these steps, according to Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, commander of the 101st Infantry Brigade, since two people were slain earlier this month when the groups of Al-Barka Mayor Darussalam Lajid and Vice Mayor Mujib Jakilan clashed over political differences.
One of the two fatalities was a Lajid follower, and the other was a Jakilan supporter.
However, Gobway revealed that Lajid’s nephew was recently assassinated in retaliation by the Jakilan clan.
“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.
According to Gobway, the feud between Lajid and Jakilan began when the town mayor urged Jakilan to enable him to run for re-election, which was against their earlier 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 claimed that troops were stationed in Al-Barka to assist the police in maintaining law and order and preventing future violence between the two political factions.
The Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 191, which was ratified by plebiscite on May 22, 2002, established Al-Barka town. It is made up of 16 barangays that used to be part of Tipo-Tipo.
According to the 2020 census, Al-Barka has a population of 23,736 people.