Tuesday, December 29, 2009

3 killed in Mindanao highway attacks

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / December 29, 2009) – Three people were killed in two separate attacks Tuesday by unidentified gunmen in the southern Philippines, police said.

Police said gunmen attacked a passenger van killing one person in Malabang town and was followed by another attack on two more vehicles in nearby Balabagan town, all in Lanao del Sur province.

But the military denied the reports and said soldiers foiled an attempted highway robbery.

“There was no ambush. It was preempted by the 37th Infantry Battalion, in fact it was a foiled hold up,” Colonel Jonathan Ponce, a spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Police said an old man was killed when his van was strafed by gunmen. Two other vehicles were also attacked, killing a policeman and another passenger. It was unknown whether the two attacks were related or not.

No group claimed responsibility for the twin attacks, but Moro rebels and bandits are actively operation in Lanao de Sur, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

Last month, at least 57 people, including 31 journalists were brutally murdered by gunmen allegedly led by the scion of the powerful Ampatuan clan, Andal Ampatuan Jr., the mayor of Datu Unsay town.

The mayor and his father and namesake and the regional governor and several of his brothers and other followers were later arrested and charged in connection with the gruesome killings. (Mindanao Examiner)

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