13 KILLED IN LANAO MASSACRE
THIRTEEN people were killed and 10 others were injured when a group of armed men opened fire on the convoy of Mayor Abdul Malik Manamparan of Nunungan town in Lanao del Sur province late on Thursday. It was so far the deadliest attack during the campaign season, reminiscent of the Maguindanao massacre in 2009 where 58 people were mowed down.
The 62-year-old mayor survived but his daughter and granddaughter were among those killed.
Brig. Gen. Daniel Lucero, commander of the First Infantry Division, on Friday said Manamparan’s three-vehicle convoy was ambushed in Barangay Malaig, Nunungan.
The attackers opened fire on a truck carrying the mayor and his supporters.
Government troops who rushed to the ambush site brought the injured mayor to the Iligan City Mercy Hospital. The mayor suffered shrapnel wounds on the head but doctors declared him stable and out of danger.
“Mayor Manamparan and his followers had just come from a political rally and were on their way to Barangay Poblacion when the incident happened,” Lucero said.
“They killed my granddaughter,” he told Agence France-Presse from his hospital bed.
Manamparan is on his third and last term as mayor. He is running as vicemayor while his son and namesake is seeking the town’s highest post. The family is running against candidates backed by President Benigno Aquino’s Liberal Party.
-The mayor told AFP he had a good idea who was responsible for the attack, but declined to discuss his suspicions.
Senior Supt. Gerardo Rosales, the provincial police chief, said investigators are checking the involvement of certain clans which had had previous scraps with the Manamparan family.
“They (survivors) identified the attackers last night, they gave us names . . . They
told us it was a family feud,” Rosales told reporters.
Local military commander Col. Ricardo Jalad said the ambush was the first big incident of political violence in Nunungan in the past year.
However, he said Nunungan and nearby predominantly Muslim areas of Mindanao were blighted by occasional killings linked to decades-old clan wars.
Members of the Lanao del Norte Provincial Police and troops of the 35th Infantry Battalion conducted pursuit operations against the group of armed men that staged the ambush.
Malacanang said authorities are trying to identities of the mayor’s attackers.
“We strongly condemn this act of violence,” presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte told reporters in Manila.
“We appeal to the supporters of the different candidates to keep calm and continue to campaign for their particular candidates,” she added.
The attack on Manamparan’s convoy occurred six days after New People’s Army rebels ambushed the four-vehicle convoy of Gingoog Mayor Ruthie Guingona, mother of Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona 3rd and wife of former vice president Teofisto Guigona. The mayor’s driver and bodyguard were killed.
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 guberna- torial elections the following year.
Mindanao 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.
More than 18,000 posts are at stake in the balloting, from town mayors and governors to members of parliament.
Local press reports on 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 Supt. Generoso Cerbo said both attacks are being investigated.
Mayor Abdul Malik Manamparan recuperates at a hospital in Iligan City.