The online news portal of TV5
DATU UNSAY AMPATUAN, Maguindanao -- Almost 10 days after fighting broke out between a breakaway Moro rebel organization and government troops, Datu Unsay Ampatuan remains a virtual ghost town.
A News5 team that went around town saw only deserted houses, many with walls and roofs riddled by bullets and shrapnel, along the highway. And very few vehicles passed by.
The only people the news team saw were soldiers who told them they weren’t supposed to be moving around unescorted.
Datu Unsay was the scene of some of the most intense combat when fighters of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement, a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, mounted attacks against military outposts in several Maguindanao towns.
It was also here where a Special Action Force policeman was killed by a BIFM sniper.
And more than a week after hostilities began, sporadic clashes continue to break out, especially as night starts to fall, the reason why townsfolk who fled the fighting still refuse to return home.
Incidentally, the town is named after its former mayor, Andal “Datu Unsay” Ampatuan Jr., who is accused of leading the gunmen who carried out the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre.