KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Some 37 families in a Moro-dominated barangay in President Roxas town in North Cotabato evacuated to safer grounds when 50 armed men attacked the area around 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Police reports said the armed men were believed to be members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and led by commanders Daud Macaalay- former councilor of Barangay Salat in President Roxas, Datumanong Mandigan, and Basit Kudalis Inalang.

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The attack resulted in the death of Manny Ampatuan, younger brother of Barangay Salat chairman Datu Magalona Ampatuan.

The slain Ampatuan was a commander of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) operating in the towns of President Roxas, Kabacan, and Matalam, all in North Cotabato.

Wounded were Dagul Agmas, one of Ampatuan’s men, and another still unidentified villager.

Cotabato Governor Lala Talinio-Mendoza said the fighting was between chairman Ampatuan and his men, who belong to the MNLF forces, and MILF Commander Macaalay.

Both belong to the same clan, according to Mendoza.

Their "rido" or clan war, she said, was caused by land conflict, cattle rustling, and theft of rubber cup lumps and other farm products.

The clan wars, records from the President Roxas police showed, started a few months before the May 2010 elections.

Last month, at least 30 houses were torched by still unidentified armed men. Another fire incident happened first week of August.

A series of dialogues between warring families were already held at the municipal hall of President Roxas since last month yet the fighting continues, according to Mendoza.

The Army in North Cotabato has already sought the help of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in pacifying warring families both belonging to different armed Moro groups.

On Thursday, social welfare staff and local officials of President Roxas led by Vice Mayor Noel Mallorca distributed relief goods to the evacuees who are now housed at the multi-purpose building of Barangay Kisupaan.

The evacuation site is located a kilometer away from the patrol base of the 38th IB.

Sr. Insp. Benjamin Rioflorido, President Roxas police chief, and Police Officers 3 Tonggal Salik and Dwight Razon proceeded to the area to investigate the attack, also on Thursday.(Malu Cadeliña Manar)