12 dead in Philippines political feud
MANILA - Twelve people were killed in an ambush on a Philippines mayor, officials said Friday, in the deadliest of a string of violent incidents that have marred the campaign for May elections.
- Published: 26/04/2013 at 12:56 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
Mayor Abdulmalik Manamparan of Nunungan town recuperates at a hospital in Iligan City on Friday, after he and his supporters were ambushed.
Gunmen opened fire on a truck carrying Mayor Abdulmalik Manamparan and his supporters on southern Mindanao island late Thursday, local military commander Col Ricardo Jalad said, with relatives among the victims.
"They killed my granddaughter," Manamparan said from his hospital bed, where the 62-year-old official was being treated for a shrapnel wound that grazed his head. Another seven people were injured in the attack.
Jalad said a daughter of the mayor was also among the dozen people killed, though the wounded official was apparently unaware of this.
The ambush on a remote mountain road near Nunungan town, unleashed as the mayor and his party travelled home from a campaign event, was the latest episode of political violence in a country that will hold elections on May 13.
A running police tally lists 30 deaths from 45 other violent incidents reported since the start of the campaign in February.
In November 2009, members of a powerful clan on Mindanao abducted and murdered 58 people including relatives of a local rival who was planning to challenge the clan leader in gubernatorial elections the following year.
Manamparan, of the opposition Nationalist People's Coalition party, is the mayor of the mainly Muslim town of Nunungan.
He is standing for the lower post of vice-mayor, with his son and namesake running for mayor. The candidate's son was not among the casualties.
The mayor said he had a good idea who was responsible for the attack, but declined to discuss his suspicions.
"They are facing strong opponents from the Liberal Party," Jalad said, referring to President Benigno Aquino's party.
However, the Manamparan family's election opponents are not being treated as suspects at this time, Jalad emphasised.
"It is unclear at this point who is responsible. The police are investigating, but the mayor's relatives have made themselves scarce," Jalad added.
He said the ambush was the first big incident of political violence in Nunungan in the past year.
However, Jalad added that Nunungan and nearby predominantly Muslim areas of Mindanao were blighted by occasional killings linked to decades-old clan wars.
The island is also wracked by insurgencies waged by Muslim and communist rebels, and officials say that some of this year's election violence has been committed by communist guerrillas extorting money from candidates.
Communist rebels ambushed Ruth Guingona, the 78-year-old mayor of the Mindanao city of Gingoog on April 21, killing two of her aides and wounding her and two policemen.
More than 18,000 posts are at stake in the balloting, from town mayors and governors to members of parliament.
Local press reports Friday said two election campaigners in a province near Manila were killed and another wounded in an ambush Thursday, while a district official was killed on the same day in a bomb blast elsewhere on Mindanao.
National police spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo said both attacks are being investigated.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
- Position: News agency