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Pacification urged for local Muslim-Christian dispute.

Cotabato City - Concerned sectors, including a human rights group, have urged government authorities to investigate and pacify a resurfacing conflict between "Christian and Muslim" villagers in Barangay Amas, Kidapawan City, that left a farmer beheaded over the weekend in a series of vendetta atrocities.

In calling for a probe of the brutal killing and beheading on Sunday of Kenti Diagao, 44, an ethnic Muslim farmer, the Mindanao Human Rights Action Center (MINHRAC) said authorities should intervene and pacify the raging conflict between armed groups warring over parcels of government land at the border of the villages of Amas and Patadon in Kidapawan City.

MINHRAC's Abdulbasit Benito said the provincial government of North Cotabato, as well as the Kidapawan City leadership, should exhaust all available means to prevent the land dispute from rekindling the horrific phase of sectarian animosity during the Martial Law days.

Benito said the MINHRAC also wanted the Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities of the government, and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace process to complement pacification efforts.

According to initial investigations, Diagao was tending his lot at Sitio Nazarette in Barangay Amas Sunday when an armed group of Christian farmers, mostly settlers from Antique, approached, shot him in the various parts of the body with a 12-gauge shotgun and beheaded him later.

The victim's head was first hanged on a tree, and later buried beside the tree, sources privy to the conflict told the Manila Bulletin.

The incident, which the MINHRAC decried as barbaric, was a retaliation of the wounding two days earlier of one Jerry Eusebio, an Antique?o, in a shooting staged by armed ethnic Muslim villagers of Patadon who also peppered the victim's carabao with bullets, residents privy to the conflict told the Manila Bulletin.

The beheading of Diagao, and wounding of Eusebio were the latest in the series of sporadic exchanges of attacks that had forced residents at Sitio Nazarette to seek refuge three times at the Barangay Amas proper.

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Title Annotation:Provincial
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jun 4, 2014
Words:331
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