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Politically Motivated Mass Murder Stuns Philippines

Philippine News, Posted: Nov 25, 2009

MANILA - As many as 43 relatives and supporters of a gubernatorial candidate in Maguindanao Province, as well as journalists who were covering the filing of his certificate of candidacy, were abducted and believed murdered by armed men in Maguindanao, the military said earlier this week.

At least 21 bodies have been so far recovered in the lawless southern Philippines, in a massacre that the military and relatives of the victims said was likely due to a political rivalry. Of those, 13 were those of women. Armed forces spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner that the death toll was likely to rise. Some of the victims were beheaded and mutilated, the military and relatives said.

The murders occurred after gunmen linked to Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan abducted members of a rival political clan and the local reporters who had been travelling in a convoy on Monday morning, according to Brawner. The leader of the rival political clan that was attacked, Esmael Mangudadatu, had announced plans to run for the governorship of the mainly Muslim Maguindanao province for next year's elections. He was not among the victims.


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