36 (43?) Hostages found shot, beheaded on Mindanao Island
Posted 24 November 2009 - 05:45 AM
A state of emergency has been declared on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines after the military found the bodies of 36 people who had been kidnapped yesterday.
More than 40 politicians and journalists, mostly women, were travelling in a convoy when their vehicles were stopped.
At least 12 journalists were killed today in Maguindanao province (on the southern island of Mindanao) by armed men, including two policemen, linked to the province’s governor, a supporter of President Gloria Arroyo. More than 30 other people were murdered. Some of the victims were beheaded.
The massacre took place a few hours after around 50 gunmen led by Andal Ampatuan Jr., the mayor of Shariff Aguak (a municipality in Maguindanao province), and a police inspector identified solely by the name of Dicay kidnapped members of a large convoy of supporters of Esmael Mangudadatu, an Ampatuan clan opponent who wants to run for governor.
MANILA, Philippines - Forty-three persons – including a politician about to file her and her brother’s certificates of candidacy (COCs), as well as journalists covering the event – were confirmed killed when heavily armed men waylaid the group on its way to the local Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Maguindanao.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Information Office chief Lt. Col. Romero Brawner confirmed that as of yesterday afternoon, ground troops had recovered 21 bodies – 13 women and eight men – from the massacre site in Barangay Saniag, Ampatuan town.
The mutilated bodies were recovered in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town.
Majority of the victims were women, and there were indications that they have been raped and "played with" before being killed, police and relatives of the victims said.
Mangudadatu said his wife, Genalyn, and their relatives were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for governor of Maguindanao province on his behalf when a group of about 100 armed men abducted them.
Reports said the armed men were led by Mayor Datu Unsay Ampatuan and the provincial police director, Chief Inspector Zukarno Adil Dicay.
Posted 25 November 2009 - 09:03 AM
Officials recovered six more bodies Wednesday, bringing the death toll in Monday's attack on an election caravan to 52, including 18 journalists.
Few think Arroyo will be successful in the impoverished, lawless region that has been outside the central government's reach for generations, and where warlords backed by private armies go by their own rules.
.....The clan helped deliver votes for the Arroyo administration in 2004 elections. Human Rights Watch expressed concern Wednesday that the administration's relationship with the family would hinder an impartial investigation.
Posted 26 November 2009 - 01:55 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday refused to categorically name Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., a political ally of President Arroyo, as the prime suspect in an election-linked massacre in Maguindanao in the absence of concrete evidence against the Ampatuan family.
COTABATO, Philippines (AFP) - – Philippine President Gloria Arroyo's ruling party on Wednesday expelled the accused mastermind of a political massacre that claimed at least 57 lives, as she vowed justice would be served.
Arroyo faced increasing pressure to take decisive action as more bodies were pulled out of shallow graves and relatives of the victims reported horrifying details of the killings, including that two women shot dead were pregnant.
Ampatuan Jnr is a local mayor in Maguindanao province, a lawless part of the southern Philippines where powerful Muslim clans rule vast areas backed by their own private armies and often out of the national government's control.
However police have yet to arrest any of the Ampatuans, attracting some criticism from the local media and rights groups that the government was not able to move decisively against the clan on its home territory.
The death toll rose from 46 to 57 in Wednesday after 11 more bodies were pulled out of shallow graves, according to police.
Innocent motorists among Maguindanao massacre victims
Posted 10 December 2009 - 01:40 PM
(The Philippine Star) Updated December 10, 2009 08:25 PM
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine troops moved in on the southern strongholds of some 4,000 government-armed militiamen loyal to a powerful clan accused of ordering the brutal massacre of 57 people, the military said Thursday. Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner, the armed forces spokesman, said the possibility of clashes with the militiamen has risen after a deadline for them to surrender lapsed and troops headed to their hide-outs in least seven townships of southern Maguindanao province.
Critics called the martial law declaration a dangerous precedent, but Cabinet members said it was needed to stave off a rebellion by the Ampatuan family, the main suspects in the Nov. 23 killings, and their private army.
Of 161 murder suspects, about 100 are militiamen and only two of them are in custody, police officials said Wednesday. The other murder suspects are members of the Ampatuan clan or police, soldiers and local officials working for the clan. About 30 have been arrested.
Also on Thursday, troops dug up more crates of ammunition, machine guns, pistols and police uniforms from a shallow pit covered with earth and coconut husks on the grounds of a mansion owned by clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., who was arrested Friday along with other family members.
[/size][size="2"]Government forces start assault on armed groups in Maguindanao By Jaime Laude
(The Philippine Star) Updated December 10, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Full-scale military and police operations commenced yesterday against more than 2,000 armed supporters of the Ampatuan family in Maguindanao.
.....government troops seized more high-powered firearms, thousands of ammunition and rocket warheads from a warehouse owned by the Ampatuans in the provincial capitol of Shariff Aguak.
Lawmen also uncovered an arms cache inside the compound of the Office of the Regional Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in Cotabato City.
Among the items seized were nine M-16 rifles, five M203 grenade launchers, five M-14 rifles, an M60 machine gun and several rounds of ammunition.
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