Philippine political massacre death climbs to 37: military

18:46, November 24, 2009      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Military and police forces on Tuesday recovered more than a dozen bodies from a mass grave in a remote southern Philippine village where gunmen brutally killed at least 37 followers of a local politician vying for the governor's seat in next year's elections.

Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner, the country's top military spokesman, said while the rescue operation is going on, the military authorities sent helicopters, tanks, and soldiers to pursue the over 100 suspected militiamen.

This developed as Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared state of emergency in part of the southern Mindanao region where the massacre occurred.

Armed men believed to have close ties with Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan on Monday ambushed a convoy of at least 40 journalists and supporters of Buluan town vice mayor Ismael Mangudadatu on their way to register him as the candidate for the governor's post against Ampatuan's son in the May 2010 elections.

Militiamen fired M-16 rifles and killed most of the victims at close range.

Though political violence is common in the Philippines, the scale and nature of Monday's killing shocked the nation.

Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Jesus Dureza described the assassination as a "gruesome massacre unequaled in recent history". He earlier recommended the state of emergency to be put in place to ensure "everyone be disarmed".

Maguindanao is part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, a Muslims-dominating area created by a peace pact signed between the government and a large Muslim rebel group in 1996. Clan wars in Mindanao are often fatal as the region is awash with loose arms.

The dominance of Amputuan family in Maguindanao was not challenged over the past decade. The family reportedly owns a private army composed of 100 fully armed militiamen. 

Source: Xinhua
  • Do you have anything to say?
Special Coverage
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • First Xiaolong fighter made in Pakistan
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion