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Another 6 BIFF members lay down arms after clan war settlement

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SAUTIN SANDAY and Commander Lapu-lapu Abdul, former enemies, hug each other as Maguindanao Governor Esmael “Toto” G. Mangudadatu and 1st Lt. Eddie F. Dayag look on. — 33IB PHOTO

SIX MEMBERS of the rebel group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) laid down their arms following the settlement of a longstanding clan war in their community in Midconding village in Maguindanao. The BIFF group, led by a man they call Commander Lapu-lapu, presented their firearms on Oct. 10 to Lt. Col Harold M. Cabunoc, commander of the 33rd (Makabayan) Infantry Battalion (IB). In a statement, the 33rd IB said the handover event was also attended by six other former BIFF members, led by Dido Malawan, who surrendered last Aug. 9. The 12 rebel returnees received cash assistance from the local government. After the ceremony witnessed by local government officials, Mr. Cabunoc accompanied the men and their relatives to the 80-hectare farm land that has been left idle due to the on-and-off clashes among rival clans. Maguindanao Governor Esmael ‘Toto’ G. Mangudadatu, in a message to the returnees, said they should demonstrate real change by helping their community. “Don’t be blinded by your egoistic interests. Be the agents of change in this village by displaying good deeds,” he said.