Philippine troops discover Ampatuan clan's armament cache: military

08:52, June 13, 2011      

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Security forces have discovered another cache of firearms, mortar rounds and other war materials reportedly owned by the controversial Ampatuan political clan in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province, a military spokesman said Sunday.

Col. Prudencio Asto, public affairs officer of the Army's 6th Infantry Division (ID), said the armaments were retrieved by elements of the 61st Explosives and Ordnance Disposal (EOD) based on information provided by a tipster.

Quoting reports reaching 6th ID commander chief Brig. Gen. Rey Ardo, Asto said the firearms were found by the troops buried at the village of Manungkaling around 2 p.m. Saturday after a "whole day operation."

The haul included four M16 rifles, six barrels for cal. 50 light machine guns, two barrels for cal. 30 light machine guns, two barrels for M60 machine guns, two bipod for 81 mm mortar, a barrel guard for cal. 30 light machine gun, and more than 200 mortar rounds.

"These buried and found through a tipster...This arms cache is part of their (armaments) before," said Asto, referring to the Ampatuan clan, whose key members are suspects in the gruesome Maguindanao massacre in November 2009 where 58 people, mostly journalists, died.

Asto said the seized materials are currently in custody of the 61st EOD and due to be turned over to the 6th ID's Field Service Support Unit for safekeeping.

Government forces have seized thousands of firearms and millions of assorted ammunition in raids conducted at Ampatuan compounds following the declaration of Martial Law in the Maguindanao a few days after the massacre.

Key members of the Ampatuan clan, led by the patriarch -- former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr -- and a number of their so-called private army are detained, facing trials by a court for a charge of multiple murders.

Source: Xinhua
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