Ganassi, Lanao del Sur—Four children, aged five to 15, were wounded when they were caught in the crossfire between supporters of rival political clans two hours before voting ended on Monday here.
The Guro family was on the way home to Marawi City from casting votes in Lumbaca Unayan town when they passed by Barangay Poblacion, Ganassi, where supporters of incumbent Mayor Al-Rashid Macapodi and his rival, Amano Balindong, exchanged gunfire.
“The victims’ vehicle made a U-turn so that they won’t get caught in the fight. But they were shot at, that’s why the children, who were sitting at the back, got the gunshot wounds,” said Lieutenant Jose Ganzan, operations officer of 55th Infantry Battalion, in an interview on Thursday.
The victims were brought to a hospital at nearby Binidayan town for treatment and later transferred to Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City.
Prior to the incident, a 20-year-old relative of Macapodi, an election watcher, was shot by suspects the family identified as relatives of Balindong.
The Macapodi supporters retaliated by staging an ambush against Balindong’s brother, Saipoden, a barangay treasurer of Pualas town. It triggered the shootout that led to the wounding of the children.
Two were wounded from the group of Balindong, and one from the Macapodis.
Captain William Dagondon, chief of Ganassi Municipal Police Station, said he did not expect the incident to happen because there was no tension brewing between the clans at the start of campaign.